These lovely blue wildflowers seen in the Hebrides are very pretty. There are 6 types of Speedwell that grow in The Western Isles, you can identify the Germander Speedwell by its leaves and the stem which has hairs on opposite sides of the stem
Blue to Mauve Flowers
The lovely blue sometimes almost mauve wildflowers of the Germander Speedwell were spotted on the Castle Grounds at Stornoway. This plant belongs to the Scophulariaceae family. It is a perennial that flowers here from late March to August and likes grassland,field edges, hedges and roadsides.
The leaves will help to distinguish it apart from the other species. The leaves are opposite, both on the lower and upper parts of the stem. The leaves, arranged in pairs alternating one with another. The germander speedwell leaves are notched and rough and hairy
Ground Runners of The Germander Speedwell
Germander Speedwell spreads by both underground and over ground runners. It can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, but prefers damp conditions.
The flowers are a lovely blue colour with darker veins and the central white eye. The germander speedwell is one of those plants which close at night and open in the morning. The flowers are about 1 cm diameter.
The flowers are 4-lobed with the smallest lobe being lowest, have white centres, have two stamens and are borne on slender stalks in loose racemes.
Flower Colour Changes
Flower Colour Changes and the Flower Opens and Closes
In the evening as the sun goes down you will see it actually get paler, opening in the morning light to reveal the brilliant shade of blue.
Medicinal Uses of the Germander Speedwell Plant
Many medicinal uses have been documented for this plant, created by uses it in various forms and infusions. It is used in tea infusions. It is said to be a remedy for all manner of ailments, from cramp, to ulcers, to eye conditions. for smallpox and to cleanse the blood. Germander Speedwell is said to be used to reduce fevers
Ladies Fertility Emblem
It is said that the white centre of the flower, which can be clearly seen in the middle of the vivid blue flower, was actually the sign of the holy handkerchief, (partly down to the Saint Veronica legend ) and hence the flower was sacred to and named after Saint Veronica.
Name Derivation - Saint Veronica Legend
The scientific name of Speedwell (Veronica) dates back some 500 years. It is linked to the lady Veronica who is believed to have wiped the sweat off the face of Jesus when he was on route to Calvary. The markings that were left on the cloth apparently were very similar to those of the lovely blue flowers and therefore they were named Veronica Speedwell.. The plant therefore was so named as a tribute to Veronica.
Western Isles Wildflowers - Speedwell
There are many, many different types of speedwell. From my research I find that about six types of speedwell seen here on the Western Isles ( I shall endeavour to acquire photos of them all over time) Here is a short list of the six types of speedwell
a) Germander Speedwell
These lovely blue sometimes almost mauve wildflowers were spotted on the Castle Grounds at Stornoway. This plant belongs to the Scophulariaceae family. It is a perennial that flowers here from late March to August and likes grassland,field edges,hedges and roadsides. The leaves will help to distinguish it apart from the other species.
This speedwell has creeping stems. The flowers are a pale blue sometimes almost white with darker blue lines or veins on them. THis plant loves moist damp places
c) Blue Water Speedwell
This speedwell, as the name suggests likes damp places, often near water , it is a plant native to the Western Isles. It has erect spikes of the pale blue flowers and opposite stalk less leaves, the plant is nearly hairless, unlike that of the Germander Speedwell which has hairs on both sides of the stem
d) Wall Speedwell
This lovely speedwell, has small blue flowers with white centres. The flowers are on short stalks and are a brighter blue than those of the other types of speedwell.
e) Heath Speedwell
Sometimes called common speedwell, it has hairy stems that crawl along the ground. It likes grassland, and slightly acidic soil. The stem leaves are in pairs at opposite sides of the stem. The leaves are long and slim, unlike those of the germander speedwell. The flowers are an irregular shape and are violet coloured.
This plant is a member of the speedwell family. It has blunt toothed fleshy oval leaves, (somewhat different to the leaves of the other 5 species seen here), opposite and short stalked, it likes very moist places, often growing by streams. It is a plant native to the Western Isles
|Inches and cm sizes are approximate|