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Veronica officinalis, the heath speedwell, common gypsyweed, common speedwell, or Paul's betony, is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae. It is native to Europe and western Asia. It has been introduced to North America and is widely naturalised there.
It is a herbaceous perennial with hairy green stems 10–50 cm (3.9–19.7 in) long that cover the ground in mats and send up short vertical shoots which bear soft violet flowers. The leaves are 1.5–5 cm (0.59–1.97 in) and 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in) broad, and softly hairy.
It flowers from May until August.
Cultivation and uses
The slightly bitter and astringent taste and tea-like smell of speedwell led to its use as a tea substitute in 19th-century France, where it was called thé d'Europe, or "Europe tea". The French still use this term as a name for speedwell.
- BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Veronica officinalis". The PLANTS Database (plants.usda.gov). Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
- "Veronica officinalis". PFAF.
- Pharmacopoea Bavarica Iussu Regio Edita (in Latin). Munich: Joseph Lindauer. 1822. p. 132.
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