Verbena hastata (Blue Vervain)
|Also known as:||Swamp Verbena|
|Habitat:||sun; wet fields, shores, ditches|
|Bloom season:||June - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 6 feet|
|USDA PLANTS database:||Minnesota county distribution map|
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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:
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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Photos taken at Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton, MN, July 2006 and June 2007
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?