Thyme-leaved Speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia)
Working in the Fritz Garden (where the community grows vegetables for food banks) a few days ago, and preparing to plant tomato seedlings I was caught by this tiny gem of a wildflower looking appealingly at me and pleading not to be “weeded”. What could I do but rescue it and take it home to await a new home. The flowers are only about 3-4mm across at the most – easily overlooked.
It’s not a particularly rare plant and in fact is very wdespread across the northern hemisphere. Thymeleaf speedwell stems are mostly creeping and root at joints (nodes) giving it the ability to grow into dense mats. Stems can reach about 1 foot (30 cm) long to the tip of their branching flower stalks. Lower leaves are oval to roundish, have smooth or fine-toothed edges, and are opposite one another along the stem. Upper leaves are oval to football shaped, smaller than the lower leaves, and are alternate to one another along the stem. The lower leaves are short-stalked, but upper leaves are stalkless, which distinguishes it from Persian speedwell that has leaves that are all stalked. Also thymeleaf speedwell has mostly hairless leaves whereas Persian speedwell has hairy leaves.
The point of this story being that there are little gems everywhere we look if we only take the opportunity to see them.