A taste of faery pretty, funky tea

Veronica speedwell

You may have noticed this dainty, low growing flower blooming in lawns, sidewalks, and garden beds come the first warm days of early spring. It is commonly called slender or creeping speedwell, the botanical name Veronica filiformis. Filiformis meaning threadlike, for its creeping quality, and named for St. Veronica, or vera iconica, the true likeness. And oh how it is indeed a true likeness of spring bejewel-ment for the slowly awakening land, lighting the growth path for the sleepy winter soul. The bright little flowers can’t help but bring a smile of hope for the fast approaching spring. Spotting teeny blossom after blossom continuously sparks the joy and anticipation of our inner child no matter how many we see, for all the more the merrier ❁

Veronica speedwell is a ground covering perennial plant that remains evergreen and can bloom from April to July. The bright blue-purple flowers are a welcome gift to our spring-anxious selves and early pollinators alike. They dapple the ground catching the eye with a twinkle of purple, blazing the trail for the new regrowth soon to come. Veronica filiformis is native to eastern Europe and western Asia, and has naturalized along most of the eastern United States ღ

Often wondering about it’s edibility and medicine, it was a pleasure to finally learn the flowers and leaves are in fact edible, and have a history in traditional European medicine. Veronica has astringent, bitter, diuretic, and expectorant qualities. An infusion of the plant can be helpful with coughs and catarrh, and topically for various skin complaints ❁

On a warm, sunny morning, I tasted a teeny flower fresh off the plant and savored a trace of sweetness with a touch of that classic early spring edibles bitterness. I then decided I was going to harvest JUST the Veronica flowers to make a small cup of tea to deepen my relation with a longtime favorite harbinger of spring. When making a connection with a new plant, I prefer to enjoy it simply with no other herbs, often only one part of the plant at a time, to truly get a feel for the new herbal ally. The tea quickly turned a beautiful blue-green / teal color, a cup of wee flower magic fit for a faery. After about 10 minutes I decided it was ready to drink. I removed the steeping cover and took a gentle inhale of the tea. Oh. I was immediately brought to the back to the mucky lotus pond I had harvested roots from on my friend’s land last summer. Not at all the fragrance I was expecting from such a colorful, dainty flower. The tea itself was lightly earthy, a bit bitter, and almost had a mucilaginous feel to it as I did not strain the flowers before drinking. Such a surprising experiential tea time in the garden ღ

I plan to try a tea of just the leaves next, and considering they have that classic bitter taste raw, I am expecting they might also make a bit of a bitter tea. I wonder how the color of the flowers would effect tea in combination with other herbs, especially violets which imbue a similar color to tea. Though the tea was not at all what I expected, I have learned more about this lovely little plant and deepened my connection. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good earthy bitter and this was no exception ❁

I feel this would be a great activity to do with kids! They seem to particularly enjoy finding teeny things hidden in the grass and forgotten places of the lands, and turning them into a wondrously colored tea, even if a bit bitter on it’s own, holds so many lessons and joys. Maybe adding a touch of lemon juice would turn the tea pink, as happens with violet flower tea, and honey or sugar could also be a nice addition. A hint of mint could be nice too to compliment the flavor, and if all these adjustments don’t make for a tasty cup of faery tea for your kiddo, they can always offer it back to the land & wee folk in gratitude & reverence instead ღ

Exploring nature and the land around us is such a timeless, priceless pastime bringing us back to presence, mindfulness, and childlike awe. I invite you to stop and take a look at the small things, both hidden down in the grass or between sidewalks, and sprawling above inconspicuously coming to bud on the tips of tree branches. Each thing, no matter how teeny, has it’s own uniqueness, it’s own beauty, it’s own gift, medicine and offering to enrich our lives and enliven our souls. There is still so much beauty, magic and resilience in this world, if only we take a breath to look. Bring yourself back to joy and wonder, raw admiration and gratitude, with the rebirth of the fields, forests, and city sidewalks around us ❁


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