Veronica catenata Pennell

Water Speedwell


CC = 10
CW = -5
MOC = 28

© SRTurner

Family - Plantaginaceae

Habit - Rhizomatous perennial forb, sometimes an emergent aquatic.

Veronica_catenata_young.jpg Young plants.

© SRTurner

Stems - Ascending to erect, or more spreading when submerged, to 60 cm, sometimes from a spreading base, glabrous, sometimes with minute, gland-tipped hairs toward the tip.

Veronica_catenata_stem.jpg Stem and node.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Opposite, simple, sessile. Lowermost leaves sometimes with short petioles. Blades 2-8 cm long, 3.0-5.0 times as long as wide, lanceolate to oblong-oblanceolate, mostly broadest below the midpoint, sharply to less commonly bluntly pointed at the tip, rounded to truncate or shallowly cordate at the base, often clasping the stems, the margins unlobed, flat, subentire or with widely or irregularly spaced, minute teeth, often mainly toward the tip, the surfaces glabrous or the undersurface inconspicuously glandular-hairy toward the base of the midvein.

Veronica_catenata_leaf1.jpg Leaves, adaxial.

Most leaves on the plant completely sessile and clasping.

© SRTurner

Veronica_catenata_leaf2.jpg Leaf, abaxial.

© SRTurner

Veronica_catenata_leaves.jpg Pressed leaves.

© DETenaglia

Inflorescence - Axillary racemes, these usually in opposite pairs at the stem nodes, open at maturity, with 15-25 flowers, the bracts 1.5-4.0 mm long, much smaller than the foliage leaves, linear to narrowly lanceolate. Flower stalks 2.5-5.0 mm long at flowering (to 7 mm long at fruiting), spreading to ascending at flowering, spreading at a right angle to the axis at fruiting or occasionally some of them slightly ascending or upcurved.

Veronica_catenata_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© DETenaglia

Veronica_catenata_inflorescence2.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Calyces 3.0-3.5 mm long, deeply 4-lobed, the lobes nearly equal, the upper 2 lobes often slightly shorter than the lower 2 lobes, the lobes broadly lanceolate to ovate, glabrous or minutely glandular-hairy toward the base. Corollas 4-lobed, 3-6 mm wide, white to pinkish-tinged or pale blue to pale purple, with darker, pinkish purple to blue veins, the throat greenish-tinged to yellowish-tinged, the lobes loosely cupped upward. Throat of corolla pubescent. Stamens 2, alternating with 3 larger corolla lobes, erect. Filaments 2.5-3.0 mm long, glabrous, whitish near base, purplish near apex. Anthers yellow-orange, 0.5 mm long. Flowering style 3 mm long, glabrous, purplish. Style 1.3-2.0 mm long at fruiting. Ovary green, glabrous, 1 mm broad and long. Capsule slightly compressed, to +/-3.5mm broad and long, dehiscing by 4 valves, brown. Seeds many, tan, -.2mm long.

Veronica_catenata_flowers.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Veronica_catenata_sepals.jpg Sepals.

© SRTurner

Veronica_catenata_flower.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Veronica_catenata_flower_close.jpg Flower.

© DETenaglia

Fruits - Capsules 2.5-3.0 mm long, slightly wider than long, depressed-obovate to more or less heart-shaped in profile, somewhat turgid, the notch very shallow (0.1-0.3 mm), the surfaces and margins glabrous or a few minute glandular hairs present along the margins, usually dehiscing both along and between the sutures into 4 valves. Seeds numerous, 0.3-0.7 mm long, strongly flattened on one side and somewhat convex on the other, the surfaces appearing smooth or appearing slightly pebbled, light brown to yellowish brown.

Veronica_catenata_infructescence.jpg Infructescence.

© SRTurner

Veronica_catenata_fruits.jpg Fruits.

© SRTurner

Flowering - April - October.

Habitat - Streambanks, pond margins. Sometimes emergent or submerged.

Origin - Native to the U.S.?

Lookalikes - V. anagallis-aquatica, V. americana, V. beccabunga.

Other info. - Steyermark lists this plant as being the sixth most frequent plant in Ozark Springs. However, in other habitats, or non-Ozark areas of the state, it is rare or absent. The plant is recognized by its wet habitat, axillary racemes of flowers, and sessile, clasping leaves. The plant flowers and progresses to fruit very quickly, each flower lasting only about one day. Typically the plants are glabrous but they can also have some glandular pubescence on the stems.

This species exemplifies the Veronica growth habit which produces axillary inflorescence racemes, as opposed to single flowers borne in leaf (bract) axils along the main stem. The numerous small, weedy, mostly introduced Veronicas all show this latter growth habit.

This species is very similar to V. anagallis-aquatica, and the two have been placed in synonymy by some authors. In Missouri they appear to be distinct. V. catenata has fruit stalks which are spreading, whereas in V. anagallis-arvensis they are ascending or curved upward. The U.S. distribution of V. catenata is unusual, with multiple widely separated populations occurring throughout the continental U.S. It is possible that taxonomic disagreement or confusion has contributed to this picture.

Photographs taken off Hwy. 106, Shannon County, MO., 6-6-03, and at Pultite Spring, Shannon County, MO., 7-23-04 (DETenaglia); also at Bohigian Conservation Area, Phelps County, MO, 6-3-2021 and 6-23-2023 (SRTurner).