blue vervain

(Verbena hastata var. scabra)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

blue vervain (var. scabra)

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

Nativity

Native

Photo by Kirk Nelson
Occurrence

 

 
Habitat

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

 
Flowering

July to September

 
Flower Color

Purple to purplish-blue

 
Height

16 to 60

 

Identification

This 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, unlobed, 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 is 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 and 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.

 
Similar
Species

Blue vervain (Verbena hastata var. hastata) lower, larger leaves have 1 or 2 lobes near the base.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 7, 24.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Verbenaceae (verbena)

 

Subfamily:

Verbeneae

 

Genus:

Verbena

 

Section:

Verbena

 

Series:

Candelabrae

 
Parent

blue vervain (Verbena hastata)

 
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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Kirk Nelson


Blooming in July on the shore of Snelling Lake

  blue vervain (var. scabra)   blue vervain (var. scabra)
       
  blue vervain (var. scabra)    
       

Done blooming, late September

  blue vervain (var. scabra)    

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   

Plant

  blue vervain (var. scabra)    
       

Inflorescence

  blue vervain (var. scabra)    
       

Leaves

  blue vervain (var. scabra)   blue vervain (var. scabra)
       
       

 

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Kirk Nelson
9/27/2015

Location: Fort Snelling State Park

Done blooming, late September

blue vervain (var. scabra)


Kirk Nelson
7/11/2015

Location: Fort Snelling State Park

Blooming in July on the shore of Snelling Lake

blue vervain (var. scabra)


Kirk Nelson
7/8/2015

Location: Fort Snelling State Park

Blooming in July on the shore of Snelling Lake

blue vervain (var. scabra)


     
     
 

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