The Veronica Genus (Speedwell)

The Veronica genus is made up of around 500 different species of flowering plants, the largest genus in the Plantaginaceae family, also known as the plantain family. 

Most of these plants come from temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Veronica At A Glance

You can recognize Veronica plants by their tall flower spikes, which are absolutely covered in tiny flowers, usually in shades of true blue, lilac, white, or purple.

The flowers on these plants act as beacons for pollinators and beneficial insects.

It’s worth knowing that Veronica plants can often be confused with some plants belonging to the mint family.

There’s an easy way to tell the difference if you get close enough.

Veronica plants feature rounded stems, while those belonging to the mint family feature square stems.

It’s worth noting that this genus is under review, with many plants in the Hebe genus and the Derwentia genus now included under Veronica.

Veronica Name Origin

It’s believed that the genus name was given to honor Saint Veronica, also known as Berenike. 

She was a holy woman, who followed Jesus to Calvary.

She was so moved at seeing Jesus suffering when he carried the cross that she gave him her veil, and when he returned it, it had the image of his face on it.

Some believe that the Latin words vera and icon, which mean true image, refer to the Veil of Veronica.

The common name, Speedwell, refers to its historical use as a medicinal plant, which would often mean a speedy recovery.

Veronica Flower Symbolism 

Veronica flowers symbolize faithfulness and loyalty.

Veronica Uses

Veronica plants have been used for centuries to help alleviate coughs, colds, asthma, and related respiratory problems.

They also have some uses in the kitchen, too, particularly Veronica americana, which has a lot of nutrients, and tastes a little like watercress. 

Veronica Growing Requirements

Veronica plants are wonderful perennials, annuals, or subshrubs, and while the care depends on the specific species, there are some general guidelines you can follow.

These plants are hardy in USDA zones 3 through to 11, and some will flower from spring all the way through to fall if the conditions are right.

Veronica plants can range in size, some of which barely reach 10cm tall, while others that can easily get to 5 feet tall, so there’s a variety for every garden.

Veronicas like well-draining, consistently moist soil, but they aren’t picky about the pH.

These plants can tolerate partial shade, but they fare better in full sunlight. It also helps that they only need an average amount of water, and don’t need a lot of attention from you besides that, making them worthwhile plants to have in any garden.

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