Verbena hastata (Blue Vervain)

Plant Info
Also known as: Swamp Verbena
Genus:Verbena
Family:Verbenaceae (Verbena)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:sun; wet fields, shores, ditches
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:1 to 6 feet

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: spike

[photo of flower] Thin spike, 2 to 5 inches long, of blue to violet blue flowers. Individual flowers are a little less than ¼ inch across and have 5 petals fused at the base, forming a short tube. There are several spikes at the top of the plant. The spikes bloom from the bottom up.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are narrow, to 7 inches long and about 1 inch wide, with short leaf stems. The edges are coarsely toothed and the leaf base and tip are both pointed. The leaves near the base of the plant are sometimes lobed into 3 sections. Attachment is opposite. The stem is square, may be reddish or green, and may be somewhat hairy.

Notes:

With a square stem and opposite leaves, Blue Vervain can be mistaken as a member of the Mint family, but it is not. It might also be confused with Hoary Vervain, but the flowers of Blue Vervain are smaller, its leaves are longer and narrower, and have short leaf stems. Hoary Vervain is also more partial to dry areas.

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More photos

Photos taken at Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton, MN, July 2006 and June 2007

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Elizabeth - Rush Lake Township, Ottertail
on: 2009-07-31 09:49:11

I discovered this plant in my flower bed of daylilies and Asian lilies. This is the first time I believed I have seen it, but I might have pulled it up as a weed before it bloomed. We have an automatic sprinkling system using water from the lake so it gets plenty of water.

Posted by: Walter - Wright County, French Lake Tow
on: 2009-08-04 13:44:09

I just discovered thousands of these Blue Vervain. They apparently liked the border of my pond that was put in. They formed a complete circle around it, and were my favorite flowers. I rarely spotted them, now there are thousands!

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2009-08-04 15:27:40

This is one of my favorite flowers, too. :-)

Posted by: Chris - Minnetonka
on: 2009-09-02 22:48:06

Cool flowers. I found a number of these Sept 1 on Pike Island, Fort Snelling State Park, just a stone's toss from the river shore. I was impressed by these and other flowers blooming there, including Tall Bellflowers, another favorite. They were keeping the bees happy.

Posted by: Randy - Ft. Snelling State Park
on: 2011-07-30 18:13:14

Attractive plant growing with wet feet around the outlet pond of Snelling Lake.

Posted by: Jeff - SW wadena county about 5 miles north of Wadena
on: 2012-08-27 08:39:00

Have not seen this flower on my property previously. We tilled up an area for a deer food plot two years ago. The last two years we had rye planted in it, this year we have sugar beats in it. This past weekend, 8/26/12, we noticed several of these blue vervains growing in the food plot. At first we thought it may be the invasive purple loosestrife (sp?), however, after some research, it appears to be the blue vervain. Very cool as I have been trying to get some wildflowers growing in my grassy field/prairie area.

Posted by: Linda - Merrifield
on: 2013-04-22 11:27:21

I found Blue Vervain growing in the sand beach at our home about 7 miles south of Crosslake, MN. I transplanted one plant to my garden and also scattered seed in the garden. The next year the transplanted one came up and it appears that the seed germinated as I also had several others growing in the garden.

Posted by: Dave - Mille Lacs Co.
on: 2014-07-07 21:44:53

I'm glad I found this. I thought at first it was purple loosetrife. Glad it's not. Thanks

Posted by: Brian - St. Peter
on: 2014-08-03 22:46:29

I saw two plants of this species in bloom at Prairie Creek WMA in Rice County, south of Northfield and just west of Dennison, on August 2. They were growing on a level prairie atop a bluff.

Posted by: T Wilke - Bremen Township
on: 2014-08-09 19:00:54

Have not seen this here on our property in northern Pine County before. It sprouted up (3 plants) next to where I transplanted the monarda in my "experimental" nursery bed. Although it is damp bordering on wet here in the spring, this is where it is high and dry for the most part. Wasn't sure if it was stinging nettle (used for tea) so I left it to bloom. I am keeping it!

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