Veronica triphyllos L.
CC = *
CW = 5
MOC = 3
Family - Plantaginaceae
Habit - Annual forb with slender taproot.
Stem - Usually strongly erect, especially later in season, to 17 cm, pubescent with spreading glandular hairs.
Leaves - Opposite (leaflike bracts of the inflorescence usually alternate). Leaves sessile, simple, to 1.5 cm long, broadly ovate, rounded to truncate at base, deeply 3-7 palmately lobed, surfaces pubescent with short, glandular hairs.
Inflorescence - Terminal spikelike raceme, elongating with age, often nearly the entire length of the plant. Axis visible between flowers. Bracts alternate, similar to leaves, gradually reduced toward tip. Flowers on stalks 2-5 mm long, elongating in fruit.
Flowers - Calyces 3-4 mm long, elongating in fruit, deeply 4-lobed, the upper 2 lobes shorter than the lower 2 lobes, the lobes pubescent with spreading, glandular hairs. Corollas 3.0-4.5 mm wide, blue with darker veins, the throat usually light green. Stamens 2. Style 1, 1.2-1.6 mm long at fruiting.
Fruits - 4.2-5.5 mm long, usually slightly longer than wide, heart-shaped in profile, flattened, the notch relatively deep (0.8-1.1 mm), the surfaces glandular-hairy. Seeds mostly 6-12 per locule, 1.5-2.0 mm long, cup-shaped, the convex surface appearing cross-wrinkled, brown.
Flowering - April - June.
Habitat - Agricultural fields, disturbed areas.
Origin - Native to Eurasia.
Lookalikes - Other species of Veronica.
Other info. - This small speedwell was first reported for Missouri in 1992. It is still uncommon both in Missouri and in the continental U.S., though its prevalence may be increasing. It can form huge populations in crop fields where it is found, and is probably spread by agricultural equipment. It blooms in the spring, typically completing its life cycle and disappearing before the crop is sown. The deeply heart-shaped fruits are diagnostic for the genus. V. triphyllos is differentiated from other species within the genus by its deeply lobed leaves and fruits with relatively deep apical notches, as well as having an upright growth habit. It also tends to have flowers which are a deeper and more uniform blue than those of other speedwells.
Photographs taken near Labadie, Franklin County, MO, 4-17-2014, 3-30-2015, and 3-27-2020 (SRTurner).