Veronica is a genus of about 200 species of herbaceous perennials in the family Plantaginaceae, mostly native to the Northern Hemisphere with some species from the Southern Hemisphere.
Veronica has tall spikes covered with showy, tubular or saucer-shaped flowers which bloom from spring to autumn. The flowers are so bright and beautiful, and attractive to many pollinators.
The genus name refers to Saint Veronica, an Italian saint.
Some also believe that the name is derived from the Latin words “vera”, which means “true”, and “icon”, meaning “image”, in reference to the “Veil of Veronica” which was considered in medieval times as the truthful representation of Jesus Christ, preceding the Shroud of Turin. According to Christian tradition, Veronica was one of the holy women who accompanied Jesus Christ to Calvary. She offered him a towel or veil to wipe his face to relieve his suffering on the road to Calvary, and the image of Christ’s face was imprinted on it when he died.
The common name “Speedwell” refers to the plant’s supposed medicinal properties to support a quick return to health.
Veronica represents loyalty, kindness, devotion and commitment. According to Christian tradition, Veronica stepped out of the crowd and reached out to Jesus and wiped his face on the way to Calvary, offering an act of kindness at a time when he needed it most. She approached Jesus through the guards and the soldiers, risking punishment in order to offer Jesus a cloth, likely her veil, which he accepted and used to wipe his face. Within this story, loyalty and devotion are shown in many ways, but also commitment and responsibility toward the common good.
Moreover, Veronica symbolizes fidelity, faithfulness and love, making it a perfect choice for bridal bouquets or arrangements.
Interesting facts about Veronica
Similarities With Members of the Family Lamiaceae
Veronica can sometimes be confused with members of the Lamiaceae family (mint family), such as Scutellaria (Skullcap), because of the similar-looking leaves.
However, you can differentiate them by their stems. Veronica has rounded stems, while members of the mint family have square-sided stems.
Benefits and Uses
Throughout history, Veronica has been used as a remedy to relieve asthma and allergy congestion.
The plant has been used in cooking, too. For example, Veronica americana is used both as food and medicine in some parts of the world.
Veronica Plant Data
Veronica comes in shades of blue, purple, pink and white.
Spring, Autumn, Summer
Veronica comes in a wide range of sizes, from dwarfs that rarely exceed 10 cm (4 inches) to large specimens that can grow more than 1,5 metres (5 ft) in height.
This plant prefers moist, but well-drained soil that is neutral, alkaline or acidic.