Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs. Stems 4-angled. Leaves opposite or sometimes in whorls of 3. Flowers bracteate, terminal, in simple spikes or panicles of spikes. Calyx tubular, distinctly and ± unequally (4-)5-toothed, 5-ribbed. Corolla funnel- or salver-shaped; limb 5-lobed, ± spreading. Stamens (2-)4(-5), included, didynamous. Ovary entire or 4-lobed, 4-locular with 1 ovule per loculus. Fruit splitting into 4 nutlets at maturity, enveloped in the persistent calyx.
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© Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten and Petra Ballings

Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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Ecology

Associations

Foodplant / miner
larva of Amauromyza labiatorum mines leaf of Verbena

Foodplant / pathogen
Aphelenchoides ritzemabosi infects and damages limp, discoloured leaf of Verbena

Foodplant / feeds on
Phytonemus pallidus feeds on live Verbena

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:141
Specimens with Sequences:193
Specimens with Barcodes:140
Species:27
Species With Barcodes:27
Public Records:72
Public Species:22
Public BINs:0
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Barcode data

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Wikipedia

Verbena

This article is about the plant genus. For other uses, see Verbena (disambiguation).
"Vervain" redirects here. For other uses, see Vervain (disambiguation).

Verbena (/vərˈbnə/,[2] vervain) is a genus in the family Verbenaceae. It contains about 250 species of annual and perennial herbaceous or semi-woody flowering plants. The majority of the species are native to the Americas and Europe.

Description[edit]

The leaves are usually opposite, simple, and in many species hairy, often densely so. The flowers are small, with five petals, and borne in dense spikes. Typically some shade of blue, they may also be white, pink, or purple, especially in cultivars.

The genus can be divided into a diploid North American and a polyploid South American lineage, both with a base chromosome number of seven. The European species is derived from the North American lineage. It seems that verbena as well as the related mock vervains (Glandularia) evolved from the assemblage provisionally treated under the genus name Junellia; both other genera were usually included in the Verbenaceae until the 1990s.[3] Intergeneric chloroplast gene transfer by an undetermined mechanism – though probably not hybridization – has occurred at least twice from vervains to Glandularia, between the ancestors of the present-day South American lineages and once more recently, between V. orcuttiana or V. hastata and G. bipinnatifida. In addition, several species of verbena are of natural hybrid origin; the well-known garden vervain has an entirely muddy history. The relationships of this close-knit group are therefore hard to resolve with standard methods of computational phylogenetics.[4]

Cultivation[edit]

Purpletop Vervain (V. bonariensis) as an ornamental plant

Some species, hybrids and cultivars of verbena are used as ornamental plants. They are drought-resistant, tolerating full to partial sun, and enjoy well-drained, average soils. Plants are usually grown from seed. Some species and hybrids are not hardy and are treated as half-hardy annuals in bedding schemes.[5]

They are valued in butterfly gardening in suitable climates, attracting Lepidoptera such as the Hummingbird hawk-moth, Chocolate albatross, or the Pipevine swallowtail, and also hummingbirds, especially V. officinalis, which is also grown as a honey plant.

The hybrid cultivars 'Silver Anne'[6] and 'Sissinghurst'[7] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Pests and diseases[edit]

For some verbena pathogens, see List of verbena diseases. Cultivated verbenas are sometimes parasitized by Sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) and spread this pest to other crops.

Other uses[edit]

Verbena has longstanding use in herbalism and folk medicine, usually as an herbal tea. Nicholas Culpeper's 1652 The English Physitian discusses folk uses. Among other effects, it may act as a galactagogue (promotes lactation) and possibly sex steroid analogue. The plants are also sometimes used as abortifacient. Verbena has been listed as one of the 38 plants used to prepare Bach flower remedies,[8] a kind of alternative medicine promoted for its effect on health. However according to Cancer Research UK, "there is no scientific evidence to prove that flower remedies can control, cure or prevent any type of disease, including cancer".[9]

The essential oil of various species - mainly common vervain - is traded as Spanish verbena oil. Considered inferior to oil of Lemon verbena in perfumery, it is of some commercial importance for herbalism and it seems to be a promising source of medical compounds. Verveine, the famous green liqueur from the region of Le Puy-en-Velay (France) is flavored with these vervains.[citation needed]

Verbena in culture[edit]

See also Verbena (disambiguation)
common vervain (V. officinalis) from Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen by Johann Georg Sturm and Jacob Sturm, 1796

Verbena has long been associated with divine and other supernatural forces. It was called "tears of Isis" in ancient Egypt, and later on "Juno's tears". In ancient Greece it was dedicated to Eos Erigineia. In the early Christian era, folk legend stated that V. officinalis was used to staunch Jesus' wounds after his removal from the cross. It was consequently called "holy herb" or (e.g. in Wales) "Devil's bane".[citation needed]

Vervain flowers are engraved on cimaruta, Italian anti-stregheria charms.[citation needed] In the 1870 The History and Practice of Magic by "Paul Christian" (Jean Baptiste Pitois) it is employed in the preparation of a mandragora charm.[10] The book also describes its antiseptic capabilities (p. 336), and use as a protection against spells (pp. 339, 414).[11]

While common vervain is not native to North America, it has been introduced there and for example the Pawnee have adopted it as an entheogen enhancer and in oneiromancy (dream divination), much as Calea zacatechichi is used in Mexico.

The generic name is the Latin term for a plant sacred to the ancient Romans.[12][13] Pliny the Elder describes verbena presented on Jupiter altars; it is not entirely clear if this referred to a verbena rather than the general term for prime sacrificial herbs.[verification needed]

The common names of verbena in many Central and Eastern European languages often associate it with iron. These include for example the Dutch IJzerhard ("iron-hardener"), Danish Læge-Jernurt ("medical ironwort"), German Echtes Eisenkraut ("true ironherb"), Slovak Železník lekársky ("medical ironherb"), and Hungarian vasfű ("iron grass"). An indeterminate vervain[verification needed] is among the plants on the eighth panel of the New World Tapestry (Expedition to Cape Cod).[citation needed]

In the William Faulkner short story An Odor of Verbena, verbena is used symbolically and described as "the only scent that can be smelled above the scent of horses and courage", similar to the symbolic use of honeysuckle in The Sound and the Fury.[citation needed]

William Carew Hazlitt's Faiths and Folklore (1905) quotes John Aubrey's Miscellanies (1721), to wit:

"Vervain and Dill / Hinder witches from their will."[14][15]

In the series of young adult novels The Vampire Diaries, author L. J. Smith uses vervain to protect humans from vampires,[16] in an extension of vervain's fabled magic-suppression powers against witches. In The Struggle, Volume II, the vampire Stefan instructs the human Elena that vervain can "protect you against bewitchment, and it can keep your mind clear if a vampire or another supernatural that is using Powers against you."[17] He tells her how it is prepared and used, "Once I've extracted the oil from the seeds, you can rub it into your skin, or add it to a bath. And you can make the dried leaves into a sachet and carry it with you, or put it under your pillow at night", but gives her an unprepared sprig for protection in the meantime.[18]

In the 1977 novel Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, one of the major characters, Pedro Camacho, constantly drinks "verbena-and-mint tea" instead of coffee. The character, a writer of radio soap operas, claims that it "clears the synapses."[19]

In her 1933 thriller "Sweet Danger", Margery Allingham's hero Albert Campion describes vervain as one of the more common preparations for human sacrifice.[citation needed]

Selected species[edit]

See also Aloysia, Glandularia and Junellia for species formerly placed here.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lippia citrodora is an obsolete name still often seen.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Genus: Verbena L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2004-01-29. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  3. ^ S. M. Botta, S. Martinez & M. E. Mulguta de Romero (1995). "Novedades nomenclaturales en Verbenaceae" [Nomenclatural revisions in Verbenaceae]. Hickenia 2: 127–128. 
  4. ^ Yao-Wu Yuan & Richard G. Olmstead (2008). "A species-level phylogenetic study of the Verbena complex (Verbenaceae) indicates two independent intergeneric chloroplast transfers". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48 (1): 23–33. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.04.004. 
  5. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  6. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Verbena 'Silver Anne' (G) AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Verbena 'Sissinghurst' (G) AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  8. ^ D. S. Vohra (1 June 2004). Bach Flower Remedies: A Comprehensive Study. B. Jain Publishers. p. 3. ISBN 978-81-7021-271-3. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Flower remedies". Cancer Research UK. Retrieved September 2013. 
  10. ^ Pitois, Christian (1952). The History and Practice of Magic, Volume 2, Forge Press. p. 402.
  11. ^ Pitois, (1952) p. 336, 339, 414
  12. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. 4 R-Z. Taylor & Francis US. p. 2787. ISBN 978-0-8493-2678-3. 
  13. ^ Gledhill, D. (2008). The Names of Plants (4 ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 399. ISBN 978-0-521-86645-3. 
  14. ^ Hazlitt, William Carew; Brand, John (1905). Faiths and folklore: a dictionary of national beliefs. citing(550, 569, 611), John Aubrey, Esq.'s Miscellanies (1857), p. 147 2 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons). p. 611. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  15. ^ Aubrey, John, Esq. (1721). Miscellanies upon the following Subjects.... London: Bettesworth, Battley, Pemberton, Curll. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  16. ^ Sheffield, Rob (April 08, 2010). Love in Vein: The Vampire Diaries. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  17. ^ Smith, L. J. (1991). The Struggle (Volume II). Harper Collins. p. 105. ISBN 0-06-102001-X. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  18. ^ Smith (1991), p. 145
  19. ^ Vargas LLosa, Mario, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, 1977, MacMillan, p. 242
  20. ^ "GRIN Species Records of Verbena". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
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