South Dakota Native Plant Research
Verbenaceae : Verbena hastata

Verbenaceae : Verbena hastata


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Download Seedling (503 KB)

Download Leaves (492 KB)

Download Flowers (418 KB)

Download Fruit (869 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Blue vervain, Swamp vervain

Native American Name

Lakota: čhaŋȟlóǧaŋ pȟežúta


Verbena hastata is a short-lived, perennial herb with square, green to reddish stems, usually branched above, with short, rough hairs, growing 0.5-2.5 m tall. The simple, opposite, petiolate, lanceolate to lance-ovate leaves are 4-18 cm long, toothed, pointed at the tip and often 3-lobed at the base. The lower leaf surface is hairy, the upper smooth to sparsely hairy and the veins appearing sunken. The inflorescence consists of stiff, terminal, many-flowered spikes. The flowers are subtended by small bracts. The calyx is 2.5-3 mm long, tubular and 5-toothed and hairy on the outer surface. The blue to purplish corolla tube is about twice as long as the calyx, with 5 reflexed lobes, 2-3 mm long. the fruit are 4 nutlets enclosed in the persistent calyx. Blue vervain blooms from June to October in moist meadows and woodland, along streams and springs in all but the NW corner of South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Blue vervain provides an attractive upright accent to any native plant garden or moist prairie planting. The numerous spikes and small blue flowers can be quite striking. The flowers open from bottom to top providing food for a host of native bee species and the seeds are a staple for many small mammals and birds. It is short-lived and not an aggressive species but will readily reseed itself.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Collect fruit after it turns brown. The nutlets separate when mature and thoroughly dry.

Germination: The seeds need a short cold treatment and can be planted in the early spring with the ground is still cold or fall sown.

Vegetative propagation: Young stems cut in the spring can be rooted in moist sand.

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil: Loamy sands to clays.

Water: Moist, medium wet to wet.

Verbenaceae : Verbena hastata