Hoary Vervain

Other names: mullein-leaved verbena, woolly verbena

Blooming time: Late June to September

Height: up to 3 ft.

Stems and Leaves: Hoary vervain has opposite, coarsely toothed leaves and square stems covered by dense hairs. The stems branch and form a cluster of elongate branches at the top. The leaves are oval and prominently veined and may be up to 4 inches long.

Flowers and Fruit: The flowers vary in color from purplish blue to rose and occur in terminal spikes that may grow up to 8 inches long. Blooming begins at the bottom of the spike and proceeds upward. The flowers are nearly 1/2 inch long and are slightly irregular, with two upper and three lower lobes. The calyx is five-toothed, with one tooth shorter than the others.

Interesting facts: Reproduction is mainly by seed. Some Native Americans gathered the seeds which they then roasted and ground into a flour or meal. The Omaha prepared a tea from the leaves. The Teton Dakota used this tea as a remedy for stomach aches. Vervains are classed as weeds by many people. They have extensive root systems which make them good soil anchors in erosion situations. In the winter, the tops of the vervains provide a seed source for birds.

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Page last updated March 24, 2015
Text resources: Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie- The Upper Midwest, Sylvan T. Runkel and Dean M. Roosa;
A Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Northeastern and North-central North America, Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny
Photos by Barb McGee - bjmcreations.com