Heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis)
Mike Raine (June)
IÃ¢Â.Â.ve seen a lot more of these than normal this year. I wonder if it's down to the weather as Heath Speedwell likes to grow in dry grassy areas, not a normal situation in North Wales!
It differs from other varieties of Speedwell by its flowering stalks growing upright from the low-growing stems which can have 15 to 25 lilac flowers, each just under 1 cm across. The stalk and the leaves are covered in tiny hairs. The leaves are oval-shaped with a serrated edge. Heath speedwell is also known as common speedwell, drug speedwell, common gypsyweed, fluellin, Veronica and Paul's betony.
Heath speedwell flowers from May to August. Its lilac, irregular shaped flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by flies, bees and other insects. This wildflower is self-fertile.
Although the herbal uses of this plant are now considered obsolete it has been of some value in the past. The officinalis part of the Latin name means that heath speedwell was used as a medical plant. The stems leaves and roots of heath speedwell have expectorant, astringent and diuretic properties. So it was used to treat, gastrointestinal and urinary problems, coughs, rheumatism, haemorrhages, skin diseases and also as a general tonic. The juice has been used to treat earache