hoary vervain

(Verbena stricta)

Conservation Status
hoary vervain
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Hoary vervain is a 8 to 48 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises initially on a single stem from a taproot. When germinating from a seed the plant rises on a single erect stem and forms an underground taproot. The roots may extend up to 12 in depth. Lateral shoots (tillers) may develop on the taproot and these become strongly ascending or erect stems. The entire plant appears grayish-green.

The stems are light green to reddish-purple and are occasionally branched. They may be strongly or only moderately square. They are moderately to densely covered with both long spreading hairs and shorter somewhat appressed hairs.

The leaves are opposite. They are stalkless or on short, up to 3 16 long, winged leaf stalks. They do not clasp the stem at the base. The larger leaves are thick, egg-shaped to elliptic or almost round, 1 to 3½ long, and to 2 wide. They are usually angled or short tapered, sometimes rounded at the base, and angled or short tapered to a blunt or sharp point at the tip. They have a prominent midvein, several lateral veins that arch toward the tip, and a network of smaller veins between the lateral veins. The upper and lower surfaces are felty or rough to the touch and appear grayish. They are densely covered with both long spreading and short somewhat appressed hairs. The margins are coarsely and sometimes doubly toothed with sharp, forward pointing teeth. Upper leaves are smaller, stalkless, and lance-shaped but otherwise similar.

The inflorescence is usually a solitary spike, sometimes a group of 3, rarely a group of 4 or 5 spikes, at the end of the stem and branches. The spikes are erect, 1½ to 8 long, densely hairy, and blunt at the tip. They are short and 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 to 3 16 long and densely hairy. The modified leaves (bracts) at the base of each flower are narrowly lance-shaped, sharply pointed, and 1 16to long. They are slightly shorter to slightly longer 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 in diameter and blunt to rounded at the tip.

Each flower produces a cluster of 4 nutlets that are enclosed in the persistent calyx but are exposed at the tip. Each nutlet is narrowly oblong in outline and 1 16 to long. They are finely ridged on the bottom and have a network of raised ridges on the top.




8 to 48


Flower Color


Deep blue to purple


Similar Species


Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, fields, pastures, roadsides, disturbed sites. Full sun.




July to September


Faunal Associations


The taste is bitter and unpalatable to cattle. As a result, this plant is common in overgrazed pastures.


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  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  


Lamiales (mints, plantains, olives, and allies)  


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

Subordinate Taxa








Common Names


hoary verbena

hoary vervain

tall vervain

woolly verbena

woolly vervain










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



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




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    hoary vervain      


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    hoary vervain      






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Other Videos
  Wild Medicinal: Vervain
Living the Hedge Witch Life

Uploaded on Jul 15, 2011

Vervain tends to grow in sunny locations and are available to harvest when the plant begins to flower, usually in the warmth of summer.




Visitor Sightings

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings

Antelope Valley SNA

Beaver Creek Valley State Park

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Blue Mounds State Park

Bonanza Prairie SNA

Brownsville Bluff SNA

Buffalo River State Park

Bunker Hills Regional Park

Cambria WMA

Carver Highlands WMA, South Unit

Cedar Rock SNA

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Chippewa Prairie

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Des Moines River SNA

Dry Sand WMA

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Felton Prairie SNA, Bicentennial Unit

Fort Ridgely State Park

Frontenac State Park

Glacial Lakes Preserve

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Gneiss Outcrops SNA

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hastings SNA

Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Hythecker Prairie SNA

John Murtaugh Memorial WMA

John Peter Hoffman Spring Brook Valley WMA

Joseph A. Tauer Prairie SNA

Kasota Prairie

Kasota Prairie SNA

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Kellogg Weaver Unit

Kilen Woods State Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Louise State Park

Leif Mountain

Lost Valley Prairie SNA

McKnight Prairie

Minneopa State Park

Minnesota Valley NWR, Louisville Swamp Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Rapids Lake Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Wilkie Unit

Mississippi River County Park

Mound Prairie SNA

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, South Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Hoffman Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Rengstorf Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Touch the Sky Prairie Unit

Ordway Prairie

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Osmundson Prairie SNA

Pilot Knob

Pin Oak Prairie SNA

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Plover Prairie, East Unit

Prairie Bush Clover SNA

Prairie Coteau SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Red Rock Prairie

River Terrace Prairie SNA

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area

Savage Fen SNA

Seven Sisters Prairie

Sheepberry Fen

Sibley State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Swedes Forest SNA

Tamarack Nature Center

Tribute WMA

Twin Valley Prairie Addition

Twin Valley WMA: North Unit

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Valley View Park

Vermillion Highlands Research Recreation and WMA

Vermillion River WMA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Wild River State Park

Yellow Bank Hills SNA







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