Verbena urticifolia (White Vervain)

Plant Info
Also known as: Nettle-leaf Vervain
Genus:Verbena
Family:Verbenaceae (Verbena)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:part shade, shade; thickets, edges of woods
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:3 to 5 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC
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: tubular Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in numerous slender spikes that arise from the leaf axils near the top of the plant, and branch at the top of the stem. Individual flowers are white, not more than 1/8 inch across, with 5 petals fused at the base into a short tube. The petal lobes are somewhat unequal, the 2 upper slightly smaller than the lower 3; the lower lobe is notched at the tip. The calyx is nearly as long as the floral tube, has 5 pointed lobes, and is hairy. The spikes elongate as the plant matures, with flowers densely packed near the tip and a few flowers open near the tip. Fruits form below the flowers and become more widely spaced as the spike elongates.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are up to 6 inches long and 2½ inches wide, coarsely toothed, softly hairy, oval to egg-shaped with a rounded or abruptly tapering base, sharply pointed tip and a stalk up to 2 inches long. Attachment is opposite, There are sometimes small leaflets at the leaf axils. Stems are square, hairy and may be branched in the upper plant.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

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

Notes:

When White Vervain is in full bloom, it can have dozens of spikes flying out in all directions. While typical plants are 4 feet tall or less, a robust specimen can reach heights of 6 feet.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Minnesota Native Plant Society

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds
  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants
  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Itasca Ladyslipper Farm - Native orchids, container grown

More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Hennepin counties.

Comments

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

Posted by: Mark - Oakdale Nature Preserve
on: 2011-07-13 21:20:10

Found blooming July 13th 2011 on the south edge of the big meadow SSW of the Oakdale Discovery Center.

Posted by: Nancy - Lakeland, MN
on: 2011-08-29 23:26:56

I've had a large spray of this growing in my front flowerbed for a couple years. I was not sure what it is, but this site helped me figure it out. It is unusual, but is taking over the area. Definately blooms in August. I can send photos if you want.

Posted by: Alison - Rochester
on: 2012-08-19 11:15:14

Thanks for helping me to find out what was in my flower bed. I will leave it there.

Posted by: Ann Rantanen-Lee - Blaine, MN Anoka County
on: 2015-01-16 15:01:58

This showed up summer of 2014 in my flower bed. I collaborated with other Anoka County Master Gardeners to identify it.

Posted by: Chris - Blue Earth county
on: 2017-05-11 23:42:58

This grows in an untamed area of our lot. I love seeing it. Has anyone else observed it with what looks like a fungus... ?grayish white powdered leaves.

Posted by: Brian - Pine City
on: 2017-07-20 20:14:18

Found blooming on 18 July near Cross Lake in Chengwatana Township, Pine County.

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.