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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 9. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/1/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted

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16. Veronica L. (speedwell)

Plants annual or perennial herbs, terrestrial or emergent aquatics. Stems variously erect to prostrate, unbranched or branched, glabrous or hairy, the hairs sometimes glandular. Leaves opposite (the leaflike inflorescence bracts usually alternate), sessile or short-petiolate. Leaf blades simple, unlobed or shallowly to moderately palmately 3- or 5-lobed, variously shaped, the margins otherwise entire to scalloped or toothed, the surfaces glabrous or hairy, the venation palmate or pinnate, but the lateral veins then sometimes very faint. Inflorescences terminal or axillary racemes, sometimes appearing spikelike, the flowers alternate along the axis (the lowermost sometimes subopposite), short- to long-stalked; each subtended by a leaflike or reduced bract, but bractlets absent. Flowers perfect. Calyces deeply 4- or less commonly 5-lobed nearly to the base, actinomorphic or only slightly zygomorphic (the lower pair of lobes then slightly longer than the upper pair), the lobes variously shaped, glabrous or hairy. Corollas not bilabiate, weakly zygomorphic (the upper lobe larger and the lower lobe smaller than the lateral lobes), moderately to relatively deeply 4-lobed, usually glabrous, the lobes spreading to loosely ascending, blue, purple, pink, or white, often with darker veins, lacking a spur, the throat open, sometimes abruptly much lighter than the lobes. Stamens 2, the filaments relatively attached at the tip of the tube and exserted from the corolla, the anther sacs more or less parallel; staminodes absent. Style 1, unbranched, the stigma small, capitate, unlobed or shallowly 2-lobed. Fruits capsules, heart-shaped to nearly circular or rarely broadly ovate in outline, slightly to strongly notched at the tip, moderately to strongly flattened, glabrous or hairy, the 2 locules equal in size, dehiscent longitudinally mostly along the 2 sutures (along the rim) and sometimes also along the locule wall (then splitting into 4 more or less equal valves). Seeds 2 to numerous, oblong to oblong-elliptic or oblong-ovate in outline (nearly circular in V. heterophylla), flattened or concave on 1 side, flattened to convex on the other side, the surface pale brown to yellowish brown, brown, or nearly black, smooth, pebbled with a network of minute ridges, or with few to several coarse cross-wrinkles. About 450 species, nearly worldwide.

Veronica has been considered a taxonomically difficult genus with a large number of infrageneric groups containing relatively cryptic species, these sometimes involving polyploid complexes. Even the taxonomic limits of the genus have remained controversial (Albach et al., 2004). Most of the Missouri species are Old World natives that either have escaped from cultivation or are weedy taxa that were introduced to the New World long ago. A number of species in the genus are popular in horticulture, thus new escapes are likely to be recorded in the future. Interestingly, six of the fourteen species found in the state were first reported since 1980 and a seventh state record is reported for the first time in the present work, thus the number of species documented for the state has doubled in the past few decades.

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