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Germander Speedwell

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A common, low growing species of speedwell found along waysides and rough places


Germander speedwell: giving birds the eye

Post date: Wednesday, 18 June, 2014 - 00:00

When I was young we used to know this plant, germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys), as 'birds-eye'. It is now better known as 'speedwell' I think, but my field guide lists fifteen species of speedwell so how can you tell which one this is? Looking just at the flower alone is not going to get you very far! In general germander speedwell is a darker blue than many of the family but this is not always the case. About a half of the Speedwell's have a flower the shape of these, with three small lobed petals on top and a single longer one below.

There are three other factors you can take in to account however to help you decide. Firstly, and most importantly, the leaves. Germander grows in small 'bushes' and has many leaves with a slightly serrated edge. Secondly, it grows in many environments; woods, hedgerows and on grassland, whereas other species are more habitat selective and many are weeds of cultivation. Finally, of course, the germander speedwell is by far the most common of the family as well as flowering from March to July so, if you see a speedwell then decide first if it is not germander before thinking about what it might be!

Germander speedwell was considered a good luck charm for travellers and it supposedly 'sped them well' on their way! I am not sure why this should be other than it is often a travellers close companion as it is pretty abundant along wayside hedgerows and verges.


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Germander Speedwell
Alternative Name(s) Common Bird-s-eye
Scientific Name Veronica chamaedrys
Family Figwort family - Scrophulariaceae
Status very common
Interest Level
Species Family Speedwell Familiy - Veronicaceae
Flower Colour Group Blue
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
Preferred Environment
Look for Spreading speedwell with a white centre to a deep blue flower
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
GN: Neutral Grassland Associated