Fingered speedwell Veronica triphyllos

Status
Best Time to See
Colour
Habitat Grassland

A low-growing, hairy plant with deep blue flowers.

Its leaves rarely grow longer than a centimetre and are deeply divided into parallel-fingered lobes. Its upper leaves are stalkless, whereas the lower leaves have short stalks. Its flowers are borne at the tip of the stem amongst leaf-like structures called bracts.

Distribution

Restricted to a few sites in East Anglia and Yorkshire.

Habitat

Generally an arable species, it is typically found in the margins of fields sown with winter cereals and also on fallow land. It has also been recorded in tracks, gravel pits, sand banks and disturbed parched grassland. Favours sandy calcareous or slightly acidic soils.

Best time to see

Flowers from March to May.

Status

Classified as ‘Endangered’ and is therefore considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. It is protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This makes it an offence to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy any plants. The species is also listed as a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

Key threats

The main causes of decline are a direct result of the intensification of arable farming, key factors being the introduction of broad-spectrum herbicides and the high increase in nitrogen fertiliser used on modern crop systems. Several sites have also been lost to development.