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Brief Summary

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Also known as simpler's joy and blue verbena, blue vervain is a native perennial plant found throughout New England and the United States. The entire plant grows 2 to 6 feet high, with multiple, small, blue-violet flowers emerging from spikes about five inches long. The tubular blossoms have five lobes that open 1/8 inch wide. The plant has a tall, square-edged stem with stalks that terminate into the spikes. The stalks may be green or reddish, and may be covered in fine white hairs. Narrow and rough serrated leaves, about 6 inches long and 1 inch across, grow in an opposite pattern up the stems, attached to the stalk by short petioles. The root system of the plant is fibrous. Blue vervain can be easily distinguished from other types of vervain because of its distinctive color. Blue vervain is a perennial plant that grows each year from the root stock of the year before. It is also a biennial, so it does not begin to bloom until the second year of its life. The flowers bloom for about a month and a half from July to September. Four nutlets are produced from each flower. Blue vervain attracts a lot of wildlife: many different species of insects and bees, particularly bumblebees, collect nectar and pollen; cotton-tailed rabbits eat the young plants; and many birds, such as sparrows and cardinals, eat the seeds. Prefers moist habitats with full or partial sunlight. Because of this it is found in damp thickets, shores, roadsides, pastures, and other places near ponds and streams. This plant easily adapts to areas from degraded wetlands to high quality habitats. Very common plants in moist areas, some states even consider it a weed. Still, blue vervain is thought to be a medicinal cure-all in many cultures. The Latin name, verbena hastate, translates to "sacred plant.
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Verbena hastata

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Verbena hastata (American vervain,[1] blue vervain or swamp verbena) is a flowering plant in the vervain family, Verbenaceae. It is a herb with opposite, simple leaves which have double-serrate margins, borne on stiffly erect, branching square stems. The purple flowers appear in summer. This is a common plant that occurs across North America. It is hardy and drought resistant.[2]

This species is a member of the diploid North American vervains which have 14 chromosomes altogether. Hybridization seems to have played some role in its evolution, presumably between some member of a group including the white vervain (V. urticifolia), V. lasiostachys or V. menthifolia, and V. orcuttiana or a related species.

In the recent evolutionary past, there has been an incident of chloroplast transfer of one of the latter or the swamp verbena to the mock vervain Glandularia bipinnatifida which is a close relative of the genus Verbena. It is unknown by what mechanism this happened, but it is suspected that hybridization is not responsible.[3]

It is a larval host to the common buckeye butterfly.[4]

Footnotes

  1. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  2. ^ "Blue Vervain Wildflowers".
  3. ^ Yuan & Olmstead (2008)
  4. ^ The Xerces Society (2016), Gardening for Butterflies: How You Can Attract and Protect Beautiful, Beneficial Insects, Timber Press.

References

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Verbena hastata: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

Verbena hastata (American vervain, blue vervain or swamp verbena) is a flowering plant in the vervain family, Verbenaceae. It is a herb with opposite, simple leaves which have double-serrate margins, borne on stiffly erect, branching square stems. The purple flowers appear in summer. This is a common plant that occurs across North America. It is hardy and drought resistant.

This species is a member of the diploid North American vervains which have 14 chromosomes altogether. Hybridization seems to have played some role in its evolution, presumably between some member of a group including the white vervain (V. urticifolia), V. lasiostachys or V. menthifolia, and V. orcuttiana or a related species.

In the recent evolutionary past, there has been an incident of chloroplast transfer of one of the latter or the swamp verbena to the mock vervain Glandularia bipinnatifida which is a close relative of the genus Verbena. It is unknown by what mechanism this happened, but it is suspected that hybridization is not responsible.

It is a larval host to the common buckeye butterfly.

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Wikipedia authors and editors
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