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Germander Speedwell - Veronica chamaedrys
Family - Plantaginaceae
Also known as - Bird's Eye Speedwell, Cat's Eye
Growing to a height up to 50cm (20in) if supported, Gemander Speedwell is a prostrate sprawling grassland perennial of field boundaries, lawns, grassy banks, meadows and open woods, it is widespread and common throughout the UK and mainland Europe. It is an introduced alien species in North America and a few other countries. Oval leaves are hairily toothed in opposite pairs on prostrate hairy stems with few branches, which will root at the nodes. The leaves are superficially similar in pattern to those of various Stinging Nettles but are more oval. The white centred sky blue flowers in varying shades through to Violet are 10-12mm (0.4-0.5in) across with four petals on hairy stems. It flowers from April to July.
FBCP do not advise or recommend that Germander Speedwell - Veronica chamaedrys is eaten or used as an herbal remedy. Leaves of Germander Speedwell have been used in the past to make an expectorant for bronchial conditions and asthma, its common name of "Speedwell" may come from this medicinal usage. Another common name reference found for Germander Speedwell is that of a good luck charm for travelers from its growth habit of forming large clumps in hedgerows, roadside verges and grassy lanes.
The flower is similar to that of Thyme-leaved Speedwell - V. serpyllifolia, but the leaves of this plant are much smaller, heart shaped, smooth and without the notched edges. Brooklime - V. beccabunga also has very similar dark blue white centred flowers to Germander Speedwell, but again the leaves show the difference being non hairy, smooth, oval with faintly almost absent notched edges on thick stems.
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