Jan. 8, 2020

common speedwell, Veronica officinalis

A word about scientific names. Veronica officinalis was the first Veronica, in 1753. It is therefore what botanists call the type species. Common speedwell set the standard from which this large genus was first described. In herbaria, type specimens are the ones used for those original descriptions. Those specimens are usually segregated and treated with extra care. What about 'officinalis'? Does that mean this is the official first Veronica? No. Plants given that specific name are ones that have been a traditional part of the herbal medicine lexicon. Common speedwell has historically been used to treat an amazingly wide range of ailments. I guess, if at first it doesn't succeed, try, try again. They're still trying, which probably helps explain how this Eurasian turned up on Grand Island in Lake Superior. Common speedwell has been reported from CA, CT, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY, BC, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, GL, and SPM. Alger Co MI, 7/14/14. Plantain family, Plantaginaceae.