Western Isles Wildflowers
Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.
Gaelic name: Lus-crè Monaidh
Heath speedwell is also known as common speedwell, drug speedwell, common gypsyweed, fluellin, Veronica and Paul's betony.
This is a perennial wildflower. It's hairy stems trail along the ground sometimes forming dense mats. It sends up short vertical shoots which carry violet flowers. It grows 10 - 30cm tall.
The stem leaves of heath speedwell grow in pairs at the same level on opposite sides of the stem. Each leaf is broad, softly hairy, elliptical and has a toothed edge with a very short leaf-stalk (petiole) or none. Leaves can reach 5cm in length (2inches).
Heath speedwell flowers from May to August. It's violet, irregular shaped flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by flies, bees and other insects. This wildflower is self-fertile.
The arrangement of flowers on the stem is in racemes (erect and unbranched).
Herbal Uses of Heath Speedwell
The officinalis part of the Lartin name means that heath speedwell was used as a medical plant.
The stems leaves and roots of heath speedwell have expectorant, astringent, expectorant and diuretic properties. So it was used to treat, gastrointestinal and urinary problems, coughs, rheumatism, haemorrhages, skin diseases and also as a general tonic.
The juice has also been used to treat earache.
Heath speedwell is rich in vitamins, tannins, and aucuboside, which is thought to have antiinflammatory properties.
The use of this plant is considered to be obsolete in modern herbalism
We have several speedwell species growing in the Western Isles, thyme-leaved speedwell, wall speedwell, heath speedwell (common speedwell), germander speedwell, blue water-speedwell, pink water speedwell and brooklime.
Heath speedwell is a native plant of the Western Isles.
Photography © Suzanne Harris
Stornoway - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
9th June, 2007