blue vervain

(Verbena hastata var. hastata)

Conservation Status
blue vervain (var. hastata)
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
  Midwest

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Blue vervain (var. hastata) is an erect, perennial forb that rises on one or two stems from an underground horizontal stem (rhizome) and fibrous roots. It is usually 16 to 60 tall, though in favorable conditions it may reach more than 7 in height. It often forms colonies.

The stems are annual, erect, stout, moderately to strongly square, and branched near the top. They are green to reddish and moderately to densely covered with spreading to appressed hairs.

The leaves are opposite, lance-shaped to oblong lance-shaped or narrowly egg-shaped, 1½ to 8 long, and to 1¾ wide. They are about 5 times as long as wide. They are on short, to 1 long leaf stalks (petioles). The petioles are usually winged toward the top. The leaf blades are rounded, angled, or short tapered at the base, and tapered to a sharp point at the tip. They do not clasp the stem at the base. They have a prominent midvein, several lateral veins that arch toward the tip, and a network of smaller veins between the lateral veins. The lateral veins end before reaching the margin. The upper and lower surfaces are green and sometimes rough to the touch. They are sparsely to moderately covered with short, inconspicuous, loosely appressed, non-glandular hairs. The margins are coarsely toothed with sharp, forward pointing teeth. There are usually two, sometimes only one, narrow, forward pointing lobes at the base of the larger leaves, and often a pair of small leaves rising from the leaf axils.

The inflorescence is a branched group (panicle) of 5 to many spikes at the end of the stem and branches. The spikes are erect or strongly ascending, unbranched, ¾ to 8 long, and noticeable pointed at the tip. They are short and moderately stout when young, greatly elongated and slender at maturity. The flowers are densely crowded and spirally arranged on the spike. They bloom from the bottom up and only one to a few complete rotations of the spiral are in bloom at any one time. Each blooming flower overlaps adjacent blooming flowers.

Each flower is to ¼ in diameter. There are 5 sepals, 5 petals, 4 stamens, and 1 style. The sepals are green, and are united at the base into a narrowly bell-shaped tube (calyx), then separated into 5 short teeth that are unequal in length. The calyx is 1 16to long. The modified leaves (bracts) at the base of each flower are narrowly lance-shaped, sharply pointed, and 1 16to long. They are slightly shorter than the calyx. The petals are purple to purplish-blue, rarely pink or white, and ¼ to long. They are fused at the base into a slender, funnel-shaped tube then separated into 5 spreading lobes. The lobes are ¼ to 3 16 in diameter and blunt to rounded at the tip. The flowers are not fragrant.

Each flower produces a cluster of 4 reddish-brown nutlets that are enclosed in the persistent calyx but are exposed at the tip. Each nutlet is narrowly oblong to narrowly oblong elliptic in outline and 1 32 to 1 16 long. They may be faintly ridged on the bottom and have a few faint cross ridges toward the top.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

16 to 60

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Purple to purplish-blue

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Blue vervain (Verbena hastata var. scabra) leaves are not lobed near the base.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Moist. Marshes, meadows, fields, swamps, roasdside ditches. Full sun.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

July to September

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 24.

 
  7/27/2020      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Lamiales (mints, plantains, olives, and allies)  
 

Family

Verbenaceae (verbena)  
  Tribe Verbeneae  
  Genus Verbena (vervain)  
  Section Verbena  
  Series Candelabrae  
  Species Verbena hastata (blue vervain)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
     
       
 

Common Names

 
 

American blue vervain

blue verbena

blue vervain

Simpler’s-joy

swamp verbena

wild hyssop

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.

 

Calyx

The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.

 

Panicle

A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.

 

Petiole

The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

       
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Sherrie
       
  blue vervain (var. hastata)    
       
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Inflorescence

  blue vervain (var. hastata)    
       

Leaves

  blue vervain (var. hastata)    
       
       

 

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Sherrie
8/1/2018

Location: Lebanon Hills Regional Park (Jensen Lake)

blue vervain (var. hastata)


     
     
 
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