Verbena stricta (Hoary Vervain)

Plant Info
Also known as: Hoary Verbena
Family:Verbenaceae (Verbena)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; dry; fields, prairies, along roads
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:1 to 3 feet

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

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

[photo of flower] Densely packed spike clusters of ½-inch purple to blue-violet flowers, sometimes rose pink or white. Each flower has 5 petals fused at the base. The flowers bloom from the bottom of the spike up.

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

[photo of leaves] Coarsely toothed leaves 2 to 3 inches long covered with dense hairs, generally oval and pointed on both ends; opposite attachment at the stem with no leaf stem. The main stem is square and may be a reddish color. Leaf color may be yellowish green.


Hoary Vervain tends to grow in clumps. It might be confused with Blue Vervain, but Blue Vervain has smaller flowers, its leaves are long and narrow rather than oval, and it prefers moist habitats. The square stem and opposite leaves may also confuse Hoary Vervain with a member of the Mint family.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Minnesota Native Plant Society

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Itasca Ladyslipper Farm - Native orchids, container grown
  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at!

More photos

Photos taken at Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton, MN, and Wild River State Park, Center City, MN June-July 2006, July 2007, July 2008


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

Posted by: Juli - Danube, Renville County
on: 2012-06-23 11:48:35

along side of roads

Posted by: somebody - inver grove hts. Dakota County
on: 2012-07-28 11:52:42

Very common pasture weed!

Posted by: Sheila - Lakeville
on: 2013-06-29 21:27:35

I raise it in my prairie in my backyard. I moved it with me when I moved up here from the farm 11 years ago. It really took over when I first moved and I called Prairie Moon (my original source) to find out why. Turns out my prairie wasn't dense enough to keep it from becoming "invasive". I spent the next summer pulling as much of it up as I could. Filled in the prairie with other natives and now it's fairly tame. Of course, if I find it in places where I don't want it I still just yank it. It's not like it's going to disappear. It looks really nice with native yarrow (Achillea), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepsis incarnata) and Cone Flower (Echinacea).

Posted by: Jason - Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties
on: 2013-07-28 22:33:12

Roadsides, clearings, and short-grass prairies.

Posted by: Susan - Alexandria
on: 2014-07-13 15:11:24

Roadside ditch. Not abundant here.

Posted by: Bonnie - Cass County near Pine River
on: 2014-08-08 07:52:17

Grows well in the gravelly soils of our prairie.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.