…We know the ancient roads
In the leaf of a nettle,
And bathe in the blue profound
Of a speedwell petal.
Mary Webb. 1881-1927
Between the heavy rain showers this Monday morning in Mayo I had a stroll around the garden. Rain makes everything smell so fresh. I spotted this little blue beauty; it is the tiny flower of the Speedwell plant. I think it is a Speedwell variety known as veronica germander. But I maybe wrong there are a number of different Speedwell plants. However the name “germander” is believed a corruption of the Latin chamaedrys from the Greek words Chami meaning ground and drus meaning oak. Seemingly from the leaves of the plant they resemble small oak leaves. When I was young I used to call this flower “wild forget-me-not” as many did in Ireland.
This plant is an ancient herbal medicine. It was believed to be a panacea for many ills, coughs and catarrh, blood purifier, treatment for wounds and other various skin diseases, considered efficacious for itching and for kidney ailments.
Speedwell is also highly valuable to wildlife it is visited by insects, bees, butterflies and in particular hoverflies.