Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Water Speedwell - Veronica anagallis-aquatica   L.
Members of Plantaginaceae:
Members of Veronica with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Scrophulariales » Family Plantaginaceae
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AuthorL.
Distribution"Native" only in a fairly small area in the central Mountain counties, from Avery southwest to Madison and Buncombe. A specimen from McDowell County, in the adjacent Piedmont, is being considered as natural by the website editors, though Weakley's (2018) map shows the species as being of uncertain provenance in this province. A well-collected population along the Cape Fear River at Wilmington (New Hanover County) is certainly a non-natural population. A collection from Mecklenburg County, at a ditch through a golf course, is hereby considered as a non-native occurrence, as well.

Some references consider this species not to be native at all in North America, not just in the Coastal Plain. It is widespread in Eurasia, and ranges in North America south to western NC, northern AL, and the Southwestern states.
AbundanceVery rare to rare, in the central Mountains. Ought to occur in the northern Mountains (Alleghany, Ashe, and Watauga), as this is a Northern species. Extremely rare in the Piedmont close to the Mountains; escaped elsewhere. The NCNHP considers this starting in fall 2022 as a Significantly Rare species, with a State Rank of S1. Weakley (2018) does state: "Some authors interpret V. anagallis-aquatica as being strictly non-native in North America", though he does consider the species as native in VA, western NC, and TN northward on his range map.
HabitatThe habitats of this species are very similar to those of V. americana: wet meadows, ditches, bogs, grassy seepages, and other damp to wet and sunny places.
PhenologyBlooms in May and June, and fruits in July.
IdentificationThis "maybe native, maybe not" species is very similar to V. americana -- generally sprawling/leaning/decumbent, to about 1 foot long or longer. Both have succulent stems, numerous paired/opposite leaves, and scattered racemes of flowers from the upper leaf axils. However, V. anagallis-aquatica has leaves that are distinctly sessile and clasping the stem, whereas those in V. americana have short petioles so that one leaf does not touch the opposite leaf; and the first species has mainly entire leaves (or with slight serrations) versus obvious teeth along the margins in V. americana. The flowers are small, about 1/5-inch across, and are blue to light blue, often somewhat paler in color than those of V. americana, though this is not likely a useful separation character. As with so many species that are of uncertain nativity in a state or a given region, even as large as North America, it is likely no single "discovery" or scientific breakthrough will be made to finalize this taxonomic issue. Likely, this will happen by gradual trending of authors' opinions.
Taxonomic CommentsAs mentioned many times above, this species is found across the Northern Hemisphere and may not be native in North America. This website will treat it as native (in the mountains) for the time being.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS1
Global RankG5
State StatusSR-O
US Status
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USACE-empOBL link
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B.A. SorriePhoto taken April 2016, Arivaca Creek Trail, Buenas Aires NWR, Arizona. BuncombePhoto_natural

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