General: fibrous-rooted, probably biennial or short-lived perennial plant, more or less erect, 20-100 cm tall, hairless throughout, or slightly glandular-short-hairy among the flowers.
Leaves: opposite, mostly elliptic or elliptic-ovate to elliptic-oblong, stalkless and mostly clasping, mostly 2-10 cm long and 0.7-5 cm wide, 1.5-3 times as long as wide, sharply saw-toothed to entire. Sterile, autumnal shoots have more rounded and stalked leaves.
Flowers: many in elongated, long-stalked clusters from leaf axils. Sepals highly variable in form and size. Corolla pale blue with darker nerves, about 5 mm wide. The flower stalks in fruit generally strongly ascending, or upcurved, 3-8 mm long.
Fruits: capsule swollen, 2.5-4 mm high, scarcely notched, about as high as wide, or a little higher, the style 1.5-2.5 mm long. Seeds numerous, 0.5 mm long or less.
Along ditches and slowly moving streams, or in other wet places, frequently in shallow water, but largely above surface, in w., c. and n.e. parts of MT. Native of Europe, now widely established in the U.S.
The leaves of water speedwell are edible, like all members of the genus Veronica, raw or cooked. They are rich in vitamin C. Having a subtle flavor, the leaves can be added to salads or used as a potherb. When used in salads they are reportedly better with a lemon dressing than vinegar. The leaves are often available in winter. As with all edible wetland plants, care should be taken to avoid using plants from polluted water.
The root and the leaves are appetizers and have agents that gradually restore health, and that induce urination. The leaves have been used in the treatment of scurvy, impurity of the blood etc. The plant is bruised and applied externally as a poultice on burns, ulcers, whitlows, etc.
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