Species: Ivy-leaved Speedwell (Veronica hederifolia lucorum)

Family: Plantains (PLANTAGINACEAE)

Category: Flowering Plants

Location: NW

A. Flowering Plants

More extensive information on flowering plants can be found in a separate blog post.


Many members have flat leaves that seem to lay on the ground, hence the derivation of the name from the Latin 'planta', sole of the foot. The flowers are on long, leafless stalks. The best known plantain is the banana.

C. Ivy-leaved Speedwell (Veronica hederifolia lucorum)

The pale blue flowers and palmately-lobed, ivy-like leaves are characteristic of this native plant, whose blooms appear from March. It is a common native plant. A speedwell infusion is good for coughs, catarrh and skin complaints. Speedwells are called 'thunderbolts', as picking them was thought to bring on thunder. Another name for them is Bird's Eye, because of the belief that if you picked them the birds would peck your eyes out.

The Ivy-leaved Speedwell is classed as an archaeophyte plant. This means that it is non-native to Britain, but was introduced in 'ancient' times. Generally, this means that this type of plant was introduced prior to 1492 when Columbus arrived in the New World and the widespread transfer of plants between the Americas and the Old World first began. (Link to Wikipedia article on archaeophytes).


Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Of the three speedwells found so far in the Cemetery (the Germander Speedwell, the Ivy-Leaved Speedwell and the Thyme-leaved Speedwell), the Ivy-Leaved Speedwell is the only one that straggles along the ground, rather than lifting longer stems into the air. The very hairy leaves of the Ivy-leaved Speedwell is another differentiating characteristic.

Ivy-leaved Speedwell

The delicate nature of the Ivy-leaved Speedwell can really be appreciated close-up.