Heath Speedwell - Veronica officinalis - Western Isles Wildflowers

Heath  Speedwell - Blue Mauve Western Isles Wildflowers

Heath Speedwell


You can see these lovely blue wildflowers, the heath speedwell in The Western Isles. The violet flowers are produced during the summer months, appearing on the upright stems, they are really pretty wild flowers of Scotland.

Native Plant of The Western Isles
You can see these lovely wildflowers, which are perennials, in The Western Isles from May through to August. it is a native plant. We have several different speedwells that grow here, but the heath speedwell differs from all the other varieties as its flowering stalks grow upright from the low growing stems. The heath speedwell likes slightly acid soils.

The leaves are oval-shaped with a serrated edge. The leaves grow in pairs one on each side of the stem at the same levels, they have short stalks and are quite long reaching up to 2inches in length

Name Derivation
Heath Speedwell - Veronica - officinalis.

This plants name the "Veronica" part - was : named after Saint Veronica, the woman who gave Jesus a cloth to wipe his face while on the way to Calvary, and so named because the markings on some of the flowers are said to be like the marks that were on her sacred handkerchief


Herbal Remedies

The heath speedwell plant is rich in vitamins, tannins and other chemical compounds which have meant that over the years it has been used in herbal remedies for a variety of conditions, stomach disorders, as an anti-inflamatory, sinus and ear infections.

Click pictures below for larger photographs

Heath Speedwell Likes Woodland & Grassy Moorland
The heath speedwell is to be found in woodland, grassy moorland and heaths, and scrubby rock areas as the specimen above, which was found en route to Uig - on almost wasteland alongside the stony ravine pass.

Heath Speedwell Height up to 1 ft
The heath speedwell grows in height from 4inches up to sometimes one foot in height and spreads mainly by seed, however it also vegetatively. The plant’s runners creep along the ground a good 20 cm (8 in.) before gripping the soil lightly and putting down new stem roots.

Up to 25 flowers on a stalk

There can be up to 25 small purple- mauve flowers, each just under 1cm across growing up the stalk, which is covered with tiny hairs. The leaves are of an oval shape with serrated edges and these too have tiny hairs. The lovely delicate blue flowers give way to seedpods that are inverted hearts. The seed is orange and flat.

Insects Like The Heath Speedwell
Bees of course love this plant, as do flies and lots of other insects, who pollinate it too
Heath Speedwell - Uig

Common Names
It is often also called common gypsyweed, common speedwell, drug speedwell

Flowers - Male and Female Organs - Hermaphrodite

The lovely, blue or violet purple flowers are have both male and female organs. The wildflower is self-fertile

Romans - Compliment quoting the Heath Speedwell
Upon finding the plant The Romans gathered heath speedwell and took it back to Italy & all over Europe. They realised that this plant had so many qualities, and many different ways that the speedwell could be used. They even used its name to pay compliments to others, stating that the person had as many good qualities as the "Heath Speedwell"


Germander Speedwell - Blue Wildflowers

Tea - Europe Tea
The heath speedwell was used as a substitute for tea as it has a slightly bitter and astringent taste and smells somewhat like tea, so it was in the 19th century in France called d'Europe or Europe Tea. Many of the French people still call it Europe Tea

Spiritual Connotations

These lovely blue, mauve, purple, violet flowers were also believed to help spiritual problems, and it was claimed to repel witches, demons, devils and other assorted bogeymen.

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.


b)Thyme-Leaved Speedwell
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.

f) Brooklime
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

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