Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This herbaceous perennial plant is ½–2' tall, often tillering at the base with multiple erect to sprawling stems. The stems are green to purplish green, terete, and hairy, branching occasionally. At intervals along the entire length of each stem, there are pairs of opposite leaves. The leaves are 1½–3" long and ¾–3" across, becoming more narrow and slightly shorter as they ascend the stems. The leaves are pinnatifid and ovate to lanceolate in outline; the lower leaves are often deeply divided (cleft) into 3 primary lobes (1 terminal lobe and 2 lateral lobes), while the upper leaves are shallowly to moderately divided (cleft) into 3 or more primary lobes. The primary lobes of these leaves, in turn, are shallowly divided (cleft) into smaller secondary lobes and coarse dentate teeth. The tips of these lobes are bluntly acute. The leaf margins are slightly ciliate. The upper leaf surface is medium green and sparsely short-pubescent, while the lower leaf surface is more hairy, especially along the lower sides of the veins. Leaf venation is pinnate; the upper leaf surface is slightly wrinkled along these veins. Upper stems terminate in individual spikes of flowers that are 1-6" long. Initially these floral spikes are quite short, but they become elongated with age. A dome-shaped cluster of 10-25 flowers up to 2½" across is produced at the apex of each spike, while the ascending calyces of withered flowers persist below. Each flower is about ¾" long and ½" across, consisting of narrowly tubular corolla with 4-5 spreading lobes, a short-tubular calyx with 4-5 long narrow teeth, 4 stamens, and a pistil. The corollas are pink, rosy pink, lavender, or rarely white; their lobes are obovate to oblanceolate in shape and sometimes notched at their tips. The calyces are a little less than ½" long (including the teeth), medium green to reddish purple, and hairy; their teeth are linear-lanceolate in shape and ciliate. The erect to ascending peduncles of the floral spikes are 1-4" long, medium green to purplish green, terete, relatively stout, and hairy. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer, lasting about 2 months. Some plants may bloom later and longer, but this is an exception to the rule. The flowers may, or may not, have a pleasant floral fragrance. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by nutlets (4 per flower). Mature nutlets are about 3 mm. long, narrowly angular-cylindrical in shape, and black. The root system consists of a woody caudex with fibrous roots. In addition, when they lie on moist ground, the lower nodes of the stems sometimes develop secondary plants with rootlets. As a result, clonal colonies of plants are produced. Cultivation
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Rose Vervain occurs in scattered counties of Illinois (see Distribution Map), where it is native to many areas of southern and central Illinois, but probably adventive elsewhere. Illinois lies along the northern range limit of this plant, where it is uncommon (outside of cultivation). Some local populations in the wild are undoubtedly plants that have escaped cultivation. Habitats include mesic to dry black soil prairies, sand prairies, hill prairies, pioneer cemeteries, thinly wooded slopes, openings in rocky upland woodlands, thinly wooded bluffs, limestone and sandstone glades, pastures, abandoned fields, and roadside embankments. Native populations of Rose Vervain in Illinois are usually found in high quality habitats, while adventive populations are more likely to be found in disturbed areas. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Rose Vervain occurs in scattered counties of Illinois (see Distribution Map), where it is native to many areas of southern and central Illinois, but probably adventive elsewhere. Illinois lies along the northern range limit of this plant, where it is uncommon (outside of cultivation). Some local populations in the wild are undoubtedly plants that have escaped cultivation. Habitats include mesic to dry black soil prairies, sand prairies, hill prairies, pioneer cemeteries, thinly wooded slopes, openings in rocky upland woodlands, thinly wooded bluffs, limestone and sandstone glades, pastures, abandoned fields, and roadside embankments. Native populations of Rose Vervain in Illinois are usually found in high quality habitats, while adventive populations are more likely to be found in disturbed areas. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Rose Vervain in Illinois

Glandularia canadensis (Rose Vervain)
(this observation is from MacRae; information is limited; insect activity is unspecified)

Beetles
Buprestidae: Acmaeodera tubulus (McR)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Often cultivated, according to Fernald (1950).

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