An Eco-sustainable World
HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Veronica beccabunga

Veronica beccabunga

European speedwell or brooklime (Veronica beccabunga L.) 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,
Genus Veronica,
V. beccabunga species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Veronica beccabunga var. bracteata Bréb., 1859;
– Veronica beccabunga var. limosa Mathieu, 1854;
– Veronica beccabunga var. umbrosa Tinant;
– Veronica beccabunga var. umbrosa Tinant ex Mathieu, 1854;
– Veronica bianoris Sennen.
Within this species, the following subspecies and varieties are recognized:
– Veronica beccabunga subsp. abscondita M.A.Fisch.;
– Veronica beccabunga subsp. beccabunga L.;
– Veronica beccabunga subsp. muscosa (Korsh.) Elenevsky
– Veronica beccabunga var. beccabunga;
– Veronica beccabunga var. maresii (Sennen) O.Bolòs & Vigo.

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), which is 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 epithet beccabunga was given by Linnaeus to Veronica, a European plant that grows in streams or small streams, and attributed by the other authors to plants that grow in similar environments. The term derives from the German common name bachbohnen (brook beans) due to the similarity of the leaves, as referred to by Heinrich Bernhard Ruppius (1688-1719) in his work Flora Jenensis.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Veronica beccabunga is a plant found in Europe, North Africa and northern and western Asia.
In Eurasia it is present from Norway to Portugal, from east to central Asia, from western Siberia, from Mongolia to China and the Himalayas; in North Africa it is present from Morocco to Egypt.
Its habitat is that of streams, ditches, ponds and humid places in meadows, in acidic or alkaline soils.

Description –
Veronica beccabunga is a perennial succulent herbaceous plant, creeping, hairless, rooted at the nodes that can reach a height of 10 – 60 cm.
It has smooth, expansive succulent branches that are often reddish.
The leaves are oblong, finely serrated blunt in opposite pairs near the stem, thick, rounded to oblong, petiolate.
The flowers have four petals, are light blue to dark blue, 5-7 mm in diameter, collected in spiciform inflorescences that form from the axilla of the upper leaves; the corolla is short, divided into four unequal lobes: the upper one is formed by two welded petals, the lower one is smaller than the two lateral ones; the stamens are two. The antesis is from May to September.
The fruit is an ellipsoid to subspherical capsule, slightly compressed, fringed, 2-6 x 2-6 mm glabrous. Seeds oval, reddish-brown, 0.5-0.6 x 0.4-0.5 mm.

Cultivation –
Veronica beccabunga is a perennial herb that is harvested in nature for local use as a medicine and food.
It is a plant that can be easily cultivated as long as we are in moderately fertile moist soil and it grows best in water up to 15 cm deep.
From a climatic point of view it grows well in temperate areas but with cool summers and does not require high light levels.
Propagation occurs by seed and sowing should be done in autumn in an unheated seedbed. The young seedlings should be placed in single pots and transplanted in late spring.
Sowing can be done in the open field in spring or autumn.
It can also be multiplied by division at almost any time during the growing season; the latter technique is very easy as even a small part of the plant roots if placed in water.

Customs and Traditions –
Veronica beccabunga is a perennial plant whose stem and tops, fresh or dried leaves are used for food or medicinal purposes.
In edible use, raw or cooked leaves are used.
These can be added to salads, mixed with watercress or cooked with other heavily flavored vegetables.
They have a pungent taste and although the leaves are healthy for many they are not very palatable.
In medicinal use, the whole plant is alterative, antiscorbutic, slightly diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, purifying, cleansing and stimulating.
In general, as a medicinal herb, it has little benefit but has a beneficial laxative effect when included in the diet.
The leaves, especially once, were used in the treatment of scurvy, blood impurities, etc.
The shredded and pounded plant is applied externally as a mush on burns, ulcers, etc.
The main constituents are: tannins and a glucoside: aucubin.
From an ecological point of view, the species is quite widespread, able to exploit anthropogenic habitats and does not have to face major threats. The plant is therefore classified as “Least Concern” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2013).

Preparation Method –
Veronica beccabunga is a plant that, for the most part, grows spontaneously and for this reason it is used in the kitchen or in medicine in the local area.
The stem and the tops, the fresh or dried leaves are used.
In the kitchen, the leaves are mainly used alone, cooked or raw or in addition to other plant essences.
Its use in medicine is strongly linked to local traditions.

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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