Brooklime

Veronica arnericana Schwein.

The stems root at the nodes or ascend from rhizomes. The stems are weak and curving, glabrous and succulent, 8" to 24" tall. The leaves are lanceolate and gently serrated and up to 3" long. They are opposite and short petioled, glabrous, and often reddish green. Long thin stems ascend from the axils of the leaves, bearing numerous tiny, pale blue flowers. The flowers have four petals and are less than across. Brooklime is recognized by its loose and bending stems and the delicate sprinkling of tiny blue flowers. It grows along springs, streams, and roadsides.

North America, throughout the Aleutians, eastern Asia.

Alpine Speedwell

Veronica wormskjoldii Ro-emer & Schultes

The single flowering stem is 4" to 12" tall, often reddish and pubescent, especially near the top. The leaves, also pubescent, are oblong to lanceolate. They are two to three times longer than broad, and up to 1 W" long and W" wide. The margins are slightly serrate to entire. They are attached directly to the stem and held in opposite pairs. The pairs of leaves stop 1" to 2" below the flower cluster. Very small and narrow leafy bracts appear among the flowers. The flowers are held in a close group on very short pedicels, almost in a spike. The flowers are violet to dark blue purple, and the four petals are usually of equal size.

The alpine speedwell is uncommon here, found in scattered meadows, damp places, and stream banks. Although typical specimens are easily distinguished from the Steller speedwell (V. stelleri), intermediates and possible hybrids exist between the two. The similarities are such that early authors considered them both as variations under the name Veronica alpina (Hulten 1960, 1968). Of the plants found on Unalaska Island, the alpine speedwell is the taller of the two. Its leaves are lanceolate and only slightly serrate. V stel-leri leaves are ovate, barely twice as long as they are broad, and the margins are noticeably serrate, especially on the upper leaves. Also, the V stelleri flower cluster is typically more open; the flowers are held on pedicels which are W" long or more.

Range:

Southern half of Alaska, eastern and central Aleutians.

Speedwell, Low or Thyme-Leaved Speedwell

Veronica serpyllifolia L. ssp. humifusa (Dickson) Syme

Stems of this speedwell root at the nodes or ascend from rhizomes. Flowering stems are upright, 2" to 12" tall, while the lower leafy stems are often bending. The stems are ribbed and barely pubescent. The lower leaves are up to an inch long, oval, rounded on the ends, the margins gently serrated to entire. The leafy bracts on the flowering stems are small and narrow. The flowers are held on short thin stems branching from the axils of these bracts. The flowers are tiny and light blue. The four petals are tinged with white and have dark veins, and the petals are often of unequal size.

Rather uncommon, this speedwell prefers damp places and stream banks.

It is similar to the common brooklime (V. americana) but the flowering stems are more upright, and the leaves are smaller and rounded.

Range:

Northern circumpolar, throughout the Aleutians.

Speedwell, Steller Speedwell

Veronica stelleri Pall.

The single, reddish stems are usually less than 6" tall. The leaves are ovate, serrated, and up to 1 W" long and =/4" broad. Typically, the leaves are barely twice as long as they are broad. They are held in opposite pairs ascending crosswise up the stem. The flowers are held in a cluster just above the leaves, on thin pedicels up to W" long. The flowers are pale blue to violet, and up to nearly W" across. The four rounded corolla lobes are often of unequal size, and some of them are so deeply notched as to appear as separate petals.

Steller speedwell's delightful blue flowers are comparatively large for the plant's small size. The other Veronica species in our area have similar but much smaller flowers, except the Aleutian speedwell (V. grandiflora), which is found only in the central and western Aleutians.

The Steller speedwell is often found blooming in open habitats in both meadows and stony soil, often in dry stream beds and at upper elevations.

Possible hybrids, however, exist between the Steller and alpine speedwells, so it can be hard to tell them apart. See the discussion under alpine speedwell.

Range:

Eastern Asia, throughout the Aleutians, along the Pacific Coast of Alaska.

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Lagotis, Weasel Snout

Lagotis glauca Gaertn.

The flowering stems are glabrous and thick, often lying down but curving upwards at the tip, up to 12" long. The basal leaves are glabrous, large and oblong, with rounded teeth and wavy margins. The stem leaves are smaller, oval shaped, and clasping. The flowers are held in a cylindrical spike. The very fragrant, tubelike blossoms are usually pale blue, but sometimes they are white. The flower spikes are dense at first, becoming more extended as they mature. Though plants will bloom at a height of 6" or so, some plants get quite large, their spreading leaves and long stems radiating from the center.

High windswept ridges and stony alpine tundra are home for this wildflower. The fragrant lagotis blooms only at upper elevations, among the louseworts (Pedicularis spp.) and lichens. It is interesting to note that while the species is widespread in Alaska and Asia, and reaches into the Aleutians from both directions, it has been recorded only in the eastern and western islands, not in the central Aleutians.

Range:

Widespread in Alaska and Asia.

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