Weeds: Persian Speedwell

Persian speedwell (Veronica persica) is also called birdeye speedwell, common field-speedwell, large field speedwell, bird’s-eye, or winter speedwell. An annual, it prefers partial to full sun, moist conditions and good soil – though it’s not picky and can adapt to poor soils.

Although originally from Eurasia, it is now found across North America and in much of the world.  Interestingly, since most plants tend to spread quite quickly,  it may not have made it’s way to Britain until the 19th century, when speedwell’s first existence was recorded in 1825.

There is very little in the way of documented use for Persian speedwell. It may be useful in helping with muscle or neck tension, relaxing muscles and clearing sinus congestion. Several sources say it is edible but only in times of famine, as it tastes terrible. I also found one gentleman who suggested it was used in France as a black tea substitute – though he doesn’t share his sources and I haven’t been able to verify this.

What does it mean?

Because it prefers moist, sunny soil, if you have a great deal of it – then you should know that your garden is in a good location and is fairly healthy overall. It will spread quickly in nitrogen-heavy soil since it feeds on nitrogen.

Fortunately, because it is an indicator of such positive garden traits, it is fairly easily managed. One method of control is to mow it regularly – since it doesn’t adapt well to mowing.  Another equally effective way is to simply till or harrow in the spring.

Want to learn more?

If you would like to learn more about weeds, why they grow, and what that means about your garden, consider the following texts:

Weeds and Why they Grow, by Jay L. McCaman

Weeds and What They Tell Us, by Ehrenfried E. Pfeiffer

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