Veronica arvensis (common speedwell, rock speedwell, wall speedwell)

description: winter annual

place of origin: Europe

urban habitat: commonly found in compacted soil in lawns and around the base of buildings, and in pavement openings; can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions but thrives in dry, sandy or gravelly soil in full sun.

ecological function: disturbance-adapted colonizer of bare ground.

history: Although native to Europe, Veronica arvensis has become naturalized across many continents including North America, Africa, and Asia. The plant was named after St. Veronica, the woman who gave Jesus a cloth to wipe his face on the way to Calvary, because the markings on her handkerchief were said to resemble the plant. Corn Speedwell has a history of medicinal uses in Europe: used as an astringent, diruetic, blood purifier, and due to its high vitamin C content, as a scurvy preventative, and to treat coughs, burns, and skin ulcers.