Thursday, 17 January 2013

The great Veronica hunt part 3.

Some Veronicas aren’t elusive, in fact they’re commoner than most people would like, i.e., they’re weeds.  V. serpyllifolia is one of those, but it’s so discreet most people will never have noticed it.  It grows in lawns and pastures, often where it’s damp, but because the plants are small, straggle through the grass, and have tiny pale flowers, most people aren’t familiar with it.  Even in the herbarium collections it’s not well represented, although probably common throughout the country.
Veronica serpyllifolia, Hunterville: too perfect?

This obscurity also means it’s a hard plant to photograph, so although it’s easy to find, it’s hard to find suitable subjects for a habit photo.  (Habit is the botanical term for the overall appearance of a plant or part of a plant.)  Today I struck it lucky.  A single plant was growing in bark mulch outside a coffee shop in Hunterville.  This plant had no competitors, although it was close to a planted Muehlenbeckia axillaris.  Without competitors, it had grown into a compact, rather symmetrical, leafy disk, and the shapes and arrangements of the stems, leaves, inflorescences, and flowers were all visible.
Veronica serpyllifolia, leaves and inflorescences.
The shop owner was surprised when I asked her permission to take a sample for the herbarium, and came out with me to see what the fuss was about.  It turned out she had noticed the plant and rather liked it, so I didn’t take much.

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