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Verbena hastata L.
Swamp verbena, Blue verbena, Blue vervain, Simpler's joy
USDA Symbol: veha2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Simplerís-joy or blue verbena is a 2-5 ft., stout-stemmed perennial with numerous, pencil-like flower spikes branched upwards like the arms of a candelabra. Each flower spike has a ring of blue-purple flowers; the flowers at the bottom of the spike bloom first, and the ring of flowers appears to advance upward to the tips of the spike. Stiff, pencil-like spikes of numerous small, tubular, blue-violet flowers are at the top of a square, grooved stem and its branches. An attractive perennial, it has flowers on showy candelabra-like spikes. Bumblebees are among the important pollinators. In ancient times the plant was thought to be a cure-all among medicinal plants and the genus name is Latin for sacred plant. Hoary Vervain (V. stricta), to 10 feet (3 m) tall and with flowers 1/2-inch (1.3 cm) long, is most abundant in the Midwest and occurs sporadically eastward. Narrow-leaved Vervain (V. simplex), has narrow leaves and lavender flowers 1/3 of an inch (8 mm) long; it is a southwestern and midwestern species.
This species is a member of the verbena family (family Verbenaceae), which includes about 75 genera and 3,000 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees, mostly of tropical and warm temperate regions. Among them, teak is a highly prized furniture wood, and Vervain, Lantana, Lippia or Frog Fruit, and Chase Tree or Vitex are grown as ornamentals.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Biennial Habit: Herb Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
, WY Canada: NB
, QC Native Distribution:
N.S. to B.C., s. to FL, KS, NM
& CA Native Habitat:
Moist prairies; damp thickets
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available
Attracts bees. Use Medicinal:
This plant has been used for many years as a medicinal herb
for treating convalescents and people suffering from depression, headaches, jaundice, cramps, coughs and fevers. Externally, it has been applied to wounds, ulcers and acne. Swamp vervain can, however, interere with blood pressure medication and hormone therapy, and large doses cause vomiting and diarrhea. (Kershaw) Conspicuous Flowers:
Birds , Butterflies Larval Host:
PropagationDescription: Propagate from seed.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Seed requires cool-moist stratification for 30 days. After stratification, seeds can be incubated at from 60-80 degrees in the presence of light.
Commercially Avail: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2013-07-16
Research By: TWC Staff