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Veronica L.

Sp.Pl. 1:9 (1753)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Common name. Speedwells. Family Scrophulariaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Shrubs, or herbs. Annual, or perennial; plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves. Stem internodes solid, or hollow (when aquatic). To 0.8 m high. Hydrophytic, or helophytic, or mesophytic; when hydrophytic, rooted. Leaves small to medium-sized; opposite, or alternate and opposite (then alternate above); when alternate spiral, or four-ranked; ‘herbaceous’, or leathery, or membranous; petiolate to sessile; connate (across the node by a ridge), or not connate; simple; epulvinate. Leaf blades entire; linear, or ovate, or elliptic, or triangular; pinnately veined; cordate, or cuneate at the base, or rounded at the base. Mature leaf blades adaxially glabrous, or pilose, or pubescent, or villous; abaxially glabrous, or pilose, or pubescent, or villous. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire, or crenate, or serrate, or dentate. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Leaf anatomy. Hydathodes present (occasionally), or absent. Hairs present, or absent; glandular hairs present, or absent. Unicellular hairs present, or absent. Complex hairs present, or absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Entomophilous.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; axillary; in racemes. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary. Flowers pedicellate to sessile; bracteate; ebracteolate; minute to small; regular, or somewhat irregular, or very irregular; zygomorphic; 4 merous, or 5 merous; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 8(–10); 2 -whorled; isomerous, or anisomerous. Calyx present; 4(–5); 1 -whorled; polysepalous, or gamosepalous; lobed. Calyx lobes markedly longer than the tube. Calyx imbricate, or valvate; unequal but not bilabiate, or bilabiate, or regular; persistent; accrescent; when K5, with the median member posterior. Sepals elliptic, or obovate. Calyx lobes elliptic, or ovate. Corolla present; 4(–5); 1 -whorled; gamopetalous; lobed. Corolla lobes markedly longer than the tube. Corolla imbricate, or valvate; irregularly rotate, or campanulate; regular, or unequal but not bilabiate (lobes often unequal, the uppermost being the largest); plain, or with contrasting markings; white, or pink, or purple, or violet, or blue. Androecium 2. Androecial members adnate (to the corolla); all equal; free of one another; 1 -whorled. Stamens 2; all inserted at the same level; becoming exserted; all more or less similar in shape; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth; oppositisepalous. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium 2 carpelled. The pistil 2 celled. Gynoecium non-petaloid; syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 2 locular (with a septum). Gynoecium median; stylate. Styles 1; simple; attenuate from the ovary, or from a depression at the top of the ovary; apical; becoming exserted; persistent. Stigmas 1; 1 - lobed; capitate. Placentation axile (or ‘free-central’). Ovules 50 per locule (to ‘many’); pendulous to ascending; non-arillate; anatropous, or campylotropous, or hemianatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; hairy, or not hairy; not spinose; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules septicidal, or loculicidal (by 2 valves), or septicidal and loculicidal (then secondarily septicidal), or valvular. Fruit 2–50 seeded (‘few to many’). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds minute to small. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight to curved.

Special features. Corolla tube not exceeding the calyx.

Geography, cytology, number of species. Native of Australia. Not endemic to Australia. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania. South-West Botanical Province.

Etymology. Named by the Italian botanist Pier Antonio Mattioli in 1554 probably in honour either of St Veronica or of an Italian nun of the same name (1445–97), who was beatified in 1517.

H.R. Coleman, 8 September 2016

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, Judy; Marchant, Neville; Lewington, Margaret; Graham, Lorraine 2002. Flora of the south west, Bunbury, Augusta, Denmark. Volume 2, dicotyledons. Australian Biological Resources Study.. Canberra..
  • Grieve, Brian J.; Blackall, William E. 1982. How to know Western Australian wildflowers : a key to the flora of the extratropical regions of Western Australia. Part IV. University of W.A. Press.. [Perth]..