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Water Speedwell, Sessile Water-speedwell, Brook-pimpernell, Blue Water Speedwell - Veronica anagallis-aquatica


Family: Scrophulariaceae - Figwort family Genus Common Name: Speedwell Native Status: Introduced
Veronica anagallis-aquatica - Water Speedwell, Sessile Water-speedwell, Brook-pimpernell, Blue Water Speedwell. This is a widely distributed Speedwell, being recorded in all but 5 states. It is also found in most of Canada. It is protected as Endangered or Threatened in Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Tennessee.

There is some disagreement as to whether or not V. anagallis-aquatica is native to North America - USDA Plants Database lists it as native in the lower 48 and Canada, but introduced in Alaska. Calflora lists it as introduced in California and widely so in North America - native to Europe. USDA GRIN lists it as native to Europe, Asia, and South America, but not to North America. Flora of Missouri lists it as Introduced.

In addition to native status, the classification of plants included in this genus is debated. There are about 15 synonyms of Veronica anagallis-aquatica. Some experts, including the USDA Plants Database, consider Veronica catenata to be a separate species, while others consider it to be part of Veronica anagallis-aquatica. Veronica catenata is widely considered a native species, and my guess is that is why some also consider V. anagallis-aquatica to be a native plant. Those that consider V. catenata to be a separate species likely classify V. anagallis-aquatica as Introduced. However, some authorities question the native status of V. catenata as well (USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network). I am listing this plant as Introduced, but the USDA map shown on this site will show it as Native to the lower 48.

The Endangered status in three states is based on inclusion of V. catenata within V. anagallis-aquatica.

Found in:
AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Veronica anagallis-aquatica

Distribution of Veronica anagallis-aquatica in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 25 Mar 2017). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Site: Kleinschmidt Grade, Adams County, ID Date: 2012-May-28Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The axillary racemes usually will have over 30 flowers. Many photos Iíve seen show a much more elongated inflorescence, probably one of the attributes that lead to the classification confusion of this plant.
Veronica anagallis-aquatica

Site: Kleinschmidt Grade, Adams County, ID Date: 2012-May-28Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The flowers of Veronica species have 4 petals with the corolla tube being much shorter than the petals. They have two prominently exserted stamens. The petals of Veronica anagallis-aquatica are blue to an almost pink lavender, with dark violet lines.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Veronica anagallis-aquatica

Site: Kleinschmidt Grade, Adams County, ID Date: 2012-May-28Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The inflorescence is a raceme arising from the leaf axils.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Veronica anagallis-aquatica

Site: Kleinschmidt Grade, Adams County, ID Date: 2012-May-28Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The leaves are opposite and sessile, perhaps clasping, and are up to nearly 4 inches long. They may be entire or perhaps somewhat serrate. The plant grows in moist areas, perhaps even in slow-moving water. It may be up to around 3 feet tall, although it is frequently decumbent, rooting at the lowest nodes. Veronica americana - a native species - is similar but has petioled leaves.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Veronica anagallis-aquatica

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer