Germander Speedwell

March 10th, 2012

Latin:  Veronica chamaedrys

Irish:  Anuallach


This is a native perennial that has straggling stems (up to 50cm long).  A distinguishing feature of this attractive little plant is the two lines of hairs on opposite sides of the stems.

Flowers that are bright blue with a white “eye” are 10-12mm across and appear from April onwards in loose racemes.  They have 4 slightly unequal petals that are united at the base.  The leaves grow in opposite pairs, are 10-25mm long, oval, downy and coarsely toothed.

It is a species that is abundant throughout Ireland and normally grows in field margins, meadows, hedgerows and roadsides.

The leaves of Germander Speedwell have been used as a tea substitute and also as a treatment for itches, rashes and other skin complaints.

In Ireland, Germander Speedwell was used by nursing mothers to soothe sore breasts and this is why one of the Irish names for this plant is “lus na banaltran” which means “nurses’ herb”.

One of the two smaller sailing ships which set sail with the Mayflower carrying the Pilgrim Fathers toNew England in the 17th century was named the Speedwell.

Specimens can be found in the Builders Paddock, in the headlands and hedgerows of the two practice areas, in the motte-and-bailey and in other areas of the course where grass is not mowed closely.

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