Verbena stricta Vent.

Hoary Vervain

Verbena stricta plant

Family - Verbenaceae

Stems - To 1.5m tall, hirsute, herbaceous, erect, simple to branching above, 4-angled.

Verbena stricta stem

Leaves - Opposite, sessile to very short petiolate, typically ovate, serrate (sometimes doubly), hirsute to villous above and below, to +/-9cm long, +/-5cm broad.

Verbena stricta leaf

Inflorescence - Terminal spikes to -40cm long, indeterminate, with flowers dense and overlapping. Each flower subtended by subulate-attenuate bract to 5mm long. Bracts pubescent and enclosing base of calyx tube.

Verbena stricta inflorescence

Flowers - Corolla blue-purple to rose or whitish, salverform, 5-lobed, zygomorphic. Corolla tube to 5mm long, glabrous and whitish at base, pubescent near apex. Expanded portion of corolla to +/-7mm broad. Lobes to 3mm long, pubescent externally and internally. Stamens 4, didynamous, included, adnate at top 2/3 of corolla tube. Anthers .8mm long, yellow. Filaments wanting. Style green, glabrous, 1.5mm long. Ovary green, 1mm long, glabrous, superior. Calyx tube dense antrorse pubescent to hirsute, 4-5mm long, 5-lobed, with 5 ridges (nerves). Lobes acuminate, unequal, to -1mm long.

Verbena stricta flowers

Flowering - May - September.

Habitat - Disturbed sites, waste ground, pastures, prairies, thickets, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This attractive species is fairly common in Missouri. The plant is a typical roadsides weed but is deserving of cultivation becasue of its fairly large size and abundant flowers.
This species also has different flower color forms. Form stricta, shown above, has the typical blue-purple flower color. Form albiflora Wadmond, has white flowers. Form roseiflora Benke, has rose-colored flowers.
This and other plants in the family Verbenaceae often have square stems much like the family Lamiaceae. These two families are closely related. Many of the Verbenaceae also have scented foliage.

Photographs taken at the Kansas City Zoo, 6-29-00, and near Springfield, MO., 7-4-03.