Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for American Speedwell - Veronica americana   Schweinitz ex Bentham
Members of Plantaginaceae:
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Section 6 » Order Scrophulariales » Family Plantaginaceae
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AuthorSchweinitz ex Bentham
DistributionEssentially only in the northern half of the Mountains, found in all 8 counties south to Haywood.

This is a very widespread Northern species, found across Canada and the Western states. In the East, found widely south to NJ and PA, and then south along the Appalachians only to western NC and adjacent TN.
AbundanceRare in the northern half of the Mountains, most sites being fairly close to the VA and TN lines and not so much along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. The NCNHP database lists 21 records, of which about half are still extant; the State Rank was formerly S2, but in fall 2022 the rank was moved upward to S1. It is a State Threatened species, primarily owing to its occurrence in habitats (boggy sites) that are strongly declining in the state.
HabitatThis is a species of cold to cool water or damp ground, usually in sunny to partly sunny places. It occurs in bogs, wet meadows, seepages in pastures, in marsh edges, and along wet stream margins.
PhenologyBlooms mainly in May and June, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a decumbent or sprawling/leaning herb, growing to about 10-12 inches long. It has a succulent stem, and it can root at the nodes where they lie on the ground. It has numerous pairs of opposite stem leaves, each about 2 inches long and 3/4-inch wide and ovate, lanceolate, or triangular in shape, with a short petiole; the margins are serrated. There are several racemes of flowers from upper leaf axils, each one being about 3 inches long, with numerous but quite small flowers. Normally only a few flowers bloom at a time in a given raceme; thankfully, they tend to be bright blue, but they can be pale blue to pale violet-blue. In this genus, there are 4 petals, with one normally larger than others, and thus not quite symmetrical. Each flower is about 1/5-inch across. This species is very similar in appearance and range to V. anagallis-aquatica; however, that species has it leaves all sessile, often clasping the stem, and the leaves can often have entire margins (and certainly not obviously serrate). To see these two species, you will need to head to the mountains in late spring or early summer, and work in wet meadows or boggy places, and look quite carefully for sprawling or decumbent plants, and hope to catch small blue flowers -- not an easy task!
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley (2018) chooses not to use varieties for it, though some references do. The species also occurs in northeastern Asia.

Other Common Name(s)American Brooklime
State RankS1
Global RankG5
State StatusT
US Status
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