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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

29 October, 2015

Heath Speedwell: common gipsyweed

Although heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis) has the classic 'speedwell' petal arrangement with three rounded petals above a single pointed one it is not always immediately obvious that this plant is a speedwell because each flower is so small. When you examine it more closely it becomes more obvious that it is the same family as the more familar germander speedwell of thre common field speedwell, often known as bird's-eye.
Heath speedwell is an attractive little plant that grows on heath or acid grassland. It forms mats of haisy lttle plants with each stem having a spike of small mauve, sometimes purple, flowers.  It flowers from May until August and is not that common but where it occurs there is usually quite a lot of it.
Also known as common gipsyweed it has medicinal properties and has been used for calming coughs and settling digestive disorders. Back in the 19th Century the French also used the leaves to make a tea

Read more: Heath Speedwell: common gipsyweed