Verbena bracteata (Big-bract Verbena)

Plant Info
Also known as: Prostrate Vervain, Bracted Vervain, Creeping Vervain
Genus:Verbena
Family:Verbenaceae (Verbena)
Life cycle:annual, short-lived perennial
Origin:native
Status:
  • Weedy
Habitat:sun; dry; roadsides, fields
Bloom season:May - October
Plant height:1 to 20 inch creeper
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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

Detailed Information

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

[photo of flowers] A whorl of stalkless flowers around the tip of a thick spike at the end of branching stems. Flowers are 1/8-inch across with 5 light blue to purple to pink petals fused at the base forming a slender tube. The petal lobes are unequal in size, the 2 upper slightly smaller than the lower 3. The mouth of the tube and into the throat is white; hidden inside the tube are 4 stamens and a short style. The calyx has 5 sharply pointed lobes and is nearly as long as the floral tube. At the base of each flower is a narrow leaf-like bract, lance-linear and up to ¾ inch long. Bracts and calyx are densely covered in stiff hairs. The spikes enlongate to 6 inches or more, with flowers blooming at the tip and fruit forming below.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are up to 3 inches long, 1 inch wide, hairy, and typically deeply lobed in 3 parts, the lobes coarsely toothed and may be further divided with shallower lobes. Stems are branched and fanning in all directions, covered with long spreading hairs, square, and sprawling but typically rising at the tip of a flower spike (decumbent).

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of developing fruit] The hairy calyx persists and encapsulates 4 tiny nutlets.

Notes:

Big-bract Verbena is a weedy species often found at the edges of roads, sidewalks, parking lots, lawns and other disturbed sandy or gravelly soils, fanning out in a mat up to nearly 2 feet in diameter but rarely rising more than 2 or 3 inches off the ground.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Minnesota Native Plant Society

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Itasca Ladyslipper Farm - Native orchids, container grown
  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at PrairieMoon.com!
  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds
  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in Ramsey County.

Comments

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

Posted by: Mary - Apple Valley
on: 2014-07-26 13:08:50

Finally able to id this plant! Growing along the driveway alley and down over the top of the wall next to apartment building in Minneapolis. 15 West 22nd. We are weeding out the strip but will leave it there. Pretty blue flowers. Another much larger erect plant there with leathery wedge shaped leaves that at base, clasp the stems. Much branched and flower buds are now beginning to appear at the tips of the stems. Will keep looking for answer on that one.

Posted by: Ann - Central Todd County
on: 2016-07-27 17:17:06

I found these in a little used farm driveway today. I don't remember seeing them here before, but then again, I wasn't looking!

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.



(required)




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.