A Trifecta of Veronicas

I intended to do only one Veronica, one of the tiniest and least-conspicuous of spring flowers. But, well, it wanted friends.

Veronica is a genus of dainty little flowers. The common name for the genus is Speedwell. I’m not sure why, but I would hazard a guess it’s because the moment you pick the plant, the corollas all drop straight off—good-bye! It can be very tricky to make a good herbarium specimen!

They all have opposite leaves and four-petaled flowers. Since the uppermost petal is actually two fused together, it’s usually larger. The flowers can be blue or white and may be marked with darker lines or have the petals not all be the same shade. The fruits, like those of bluets and Shepherd’s Purse, are charmingly heart-shaped.

So now we have Veronica arvensis, Corn Speedwell, which has midstem leaves with no stalks and the blue flowers nestled in the axils of bracts that don’t look like the true leaves.

The flowers on this are tiny, only a few mm across. You pretty much have to have your nose in the turf to spot them.

Veronica polita is similar, but the flowers are on long stalks in the axils of the true leaves.

The third Veronica I charted, Veronica peregrina, has sessile flowers in the axils of bracts, like V. arvensis, but the flowers are white. It’s the only one of these three that is native to North America.

There other species, one with the absolutely fantastic name of Veronica beccabunga and very large flowers, but it’s not known from Texas, much to my sorrow.

I drew the three of them together.

The features of each are a bit exaggerated–pedicels a bit long on one, leaves a bit toothy on another, and the flowers on the V. arvensis somewhat too big, but they are very much themselves.

Stitched on a taupe-ish fabric, they’d look like this:

(Some of the backstitches appear not to connect. No worries. They would.)

I am rather indecently pleased with these, the middle one (V. polita) in particular. I originally had a pale greyish “eye” in all three but really, in the middles one can see the pale green ovary and the pale bases of the petals. Making the centers green and outlined in white is just the thing. I used three different colors for the foliage, but that could easily be altered. It’s just so that not everything has the same color leaves when I decide to put them all in the same piece. I might tidy up some leaf margins a smidge, as the V. arvensis is leaning towards having lobed leaves in this chart, but by and large, I think we are good here.

Kudos, as always to the photographers whose photos I have shamefully nabbed for these pages. If they’re yours and you want them removed, just say the word.


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