An Eco-sustainable World
HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Veronica austriaca

Veronica austriaca

The broadleaf speedwell or large speedwell, Austrian speedwell, saw-leaved speedwell (Veronica austriaca L., 1759) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Plantaginaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Subarign Tracheobionta,
Spermatophyta superdivision,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Subclass Asteridae,
Plantaginales Order,
Plantaginaceae family,
Veroniceae tribe,
Veroniciinae sub-tribe,
Genus Veronica,
Species V. austriaca.
The terms are synonymous:
– Veronica austriaca subsp. dentata (F.W.Schmidt) Watzl;
– Veronica austriaca var. prenja Beck;
– Veronica jacquinii var. neicefii Degen;
– Veronica orbiculata var. celakovskyana K.Malý;
– Veronica orbiculata var. hercegovinica K.Malý;
– Veronica orbiculata var. prenja (Beck) K.Malý;
– Veronica orientalis Wender.;
– Veronica polymorpha Schweigg.;
– Veronica polymorpha Willd. ex Schltdl., 1813;
– Veronica teucrium subsp. austriaca (L.) Arcang., 1882.
Within this species, the following subspecies are recognized:
– Veronica austriaca subsp. austriaca;
– Veronica austriaca subsp. jacquinii (Baumg.) Watzl.

Etymology –
The term Veronica is of uncertain etymology; Linnaeus took its name from the botanists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, who in turn took it from common names, such as fr. véronique (1545); the oldest attestation seems to date back to a Swiss pharmacopoeia (15th century). The most common explanation links the name to the legend of Veronica, that is the pious woman who, during the ascent to Calvary, cleaned the face of Christ with a handkerchief, on which her image remained imprinted (Veronica is both the name of the woman, adaptation of the gr . Berenice, both the relic, by assonance with true icon, true image); the link would be given either by the flowering period of various species, around Holy Week, or by the darker veins of the corolla that may suggest a face. The connection with the Italian mystic Santa Veronica da Binasco (1445-1497) is less frequent. A derivation from Betonica has also been proposed, based on a passage by J. Bauhin (Veronica Foemina quibusdam, aliis Betonica), not very convincing on a linguistic level. Genaust, with extreme reserve, puts forward a possible connection with the High German wernickel, wernichel sty based on the use of V. chamaedrys to treat eye diseases.
The specific Austrian epithet comes from Austrian, from Austria.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Veronica austriaca is a plant native to an area between Poland, Croatia and the North Caucasus and present from Europe to Western Asia.
In Italy it can only be found in some northern regions.

Description –
Veronica austriaca is a herbaceous, perennial plant that grows to a height of about 90 cm and with secondary roots that are formed from a rhizome.
The stem is erect and has hair about 1 mm long.
The leaves are arranged opposite and are sessile. The shape of the lamina varies from lanceolate to linear; it has an entire or serrated outline (up to being pinnatoset) slightly revolute and of an intense green color. The surface is sparsely covered with frizzy hair or is subglabrous. The leaves of the terminal vegetative jet have linear forms, whole or sub-integer with decidedly revolute margins. The leaves have dimensions in width of 3 – 15 mm, in length of 20 – 50 mm with hairs of the length of 0,1 – 0,8 mm.
The inflorescences are lateral racemes, that is inserted into the axils of normal leaves (type C – see figure) and the main axis ends with a jet without flowers. In the inflorescence there are spatulate-shaped bracts with weakly serrated edges (the upper ones are narrower). The flowers are positioned at the armpit of a bract. The bracts are arranged alternately (sometimes they are opposite). The flowers have pedicels once or twice the relative bract. There are no glands in the inflorescence.
The flowers are hermaphrodite and tetracyclic (composed of 4 whorls: calyx – corolla – androceum – gynoecium), pentamers (calyx and corolla divided into five parts). The flowers have a campanulate, gamosepal and more or less actinomorphic calyx; it is divided into 4 well-developed laciniae, with linear to linear-lanceolate shapes. There is a much smaller fifth superior lacinia. The surface of the glass is subglabrous or covered with frizzy hairs. The corolla is gamopetal and weakly zygomorphic with tubular shapes (the tube is short) and ending in four large oval to orbicular and patent lobes (the upper lobe is slightly larger – two lobes fused together, the lower one is narrower). The corolla is resupinated; the lobes are just imbricated. The color of the corolla is deep blue, with a width of 9 – 14 mm. The androecium has two stamens (the other three are aborted) slightly shorter than the corolla. The filaments are adnated to the corolla. The anthers have two more or less separate cases, equal with rounded shapes. The gynoecium is bicarpal (syncarpal – formed by the union of two connate carpels). The ovary (bilocular) is superior with ovoid shapes and compressed laterally. The ovules per niche are from numerous to few (1–2 per niche), have only one integument and are tenuinucellated (with the nocella, the primordial stage of the ovum, reduced to a few cells). The stylus, filiform with capitate and obtuse stigma, is short and does not protrude from the inlet of the corolla. The nectar disc is present in the lower part of the corolla (under the ovary). The stylus has a length of approximately 4 – 5 mm.
The antesis is between May and July.
The fruit is a capsule divided up to half in two lobes. The shape of the capsule is from oval to subrotonda, they are fringed and are more or less long like the glass. The dehiscence is loculicidal through two valves. The seeds are few with dimensions 0,5-2 x 0,7-2,6 mm ..

Cultivation –
Veronica austriaca is a perennial plant used, especially in the past, for medicinal use especially in the areas of origin.
As mentioned, two subspecies of this plant are recognized and cultivars have been obtained for ornamental purposes.
This plant can be grown in various types of soils, as long as they are quite porous and drained, with mainly sunny exposure and in temperate biomes.
Due to its aesthetic appearance, it can also be grown in rock gardens and to have a good result it must be planted with a density of 8 plants per m2.
It is easy to grow, requires very little care, and is fairly free of pests and diseases.
Propagation occurs by seed with spring sowing.
It can also propagate by division in the late spring period.

Customs and Traditions –
Veronica austriaca is a plant that is encountered in areas. It is a plant that was once used like other plants of its kind for medicinal use.
Today it is mostly used as an ornamental plant, used both for flowering hedges and also for rock gardens as the showy inflorescences composed of elegant blue flowers add a touch of color to the landscape; moreover, the plant maintains an orderly and vertical posture throughout the growing season.
It is also grown for containers and vases and cut flowers last a long time in bouquets.
In the medicinal field, the roots and leaves are used which are alterative, aperitif and diuretic.
It is a plant with a good content of vitamin C.

Preparation Method –
Veronica austriaca was used as a medicine especially in the past and relatively to the areas of origin according to the traditions of local folk medicine.
The roots and leaves of this plant are used to prepare infusions and decoctions.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Photo source:

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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