Verbena simplex Lehm.
Family - Verbenaceae
Stems - To +50cm tall, erect, herbaceous, 4-angled, multiple from base, branching, antrorse strigose.
Leaves - Opposite, sessile, oblanceolate (narrowly above), to +8cm long, 1.5cm broad, coarse serrate. antrorse strigose, rugose above.
Inflorescence - Terminal spike to +30cm tall (long), 5-8mm in diameter. Flowers dense on spike, each subtended by single bract. Bracts to 3mm long, equaling or shorter than calyx tube, lanceolate, ciliate-margined, otherwise glabrous.
Flowers - Corolla to +/-7mm long, 4mm broad at apex, 5-lobed, zygomorphic, typically lilac to lavender or whitish. Corolla tube to 4mm long, pubescent externally(especially near apex). Lobes to 1mm long, bearded internally. Stamens 5, didynamous, included, adnate around middle of corolla tube. Style included, 2-lobed. Ovary of 2 carpels, 4-lobed. Calyx tube to 4mm long in flower, sparse strigose, 5-lobed. Lobes unequal, acuminate, green. Nutlets to 3mm long, brownish.
Flowering - May - September.
Habitat - Glades. prairies, fields, waste ground, roadsides, railroads.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - V. simplex can be found throughout most of the state of Missouri. This small plant can be recognized by its tall thin flower spikes and its narrow serrate leaves. The typical flower color is quite lavender or lilac but, as you can see from the pictures above, the flowers are also commonly whitish. (Actually the flowers photographed were a bit more bluish than they appear in the pics). This species has the most narrow leaves of any Verbena species in Missouri. Like most of the genus, it hybridizes readily.
Photographs taken somewhere in NC., 5-16-03.