Verbena hastata L.
Swamp Verbena, Blue Verbena, Blue Vervain, Simpler's Joy
Verbenaceae (Verbena Family)
USDA Symbol: VEHA2
Simplerís Joy or Blue Verbena is a 2-6 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. The stiff, pencil-like spikes are at the top of a square, grooved stem and its branches.
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.
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Biennial
Fruit Type: Schizocarp
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: BC , MB , NB , NS , ON , QC , SK
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.
BenefitUse Wildlife: 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: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Common Buckeye
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
Common Buckeye |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationDescription: Propagate from seed.
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
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Verbena hastata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Verbena hastata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Verbena hastata
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-03-01
Research By: TWC Staff