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Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta)

Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta) is a herbaceous perennial that grows in open areas such as meadows, fields, roadsides, and disturbed areas that are dry. It is the host plant for two species of butterflies and a nectar source for other insects. The blue purple flowers appear in the summer and the fruit in the fall. This plant can be purchased in the McMullen House Bed & Breakfast Garden Shop.

Taxonomy and History of Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta)

Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta) — CC BY 4.0, from New York Botanical Garden, via Index Kewensis


Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta) was described by Étienne Pierre Ventenat, a French botanist, in 1801. This plant is a member of the Vervain Family (Verbenaceae).

Hoary Vervain Description and Alternative Names

Flowers of Hoary Vervain — English: NPS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Hoary vervain is herbaceous perennial that grows to 2 to 4 feet tall. The opposite, ovate, simple, entire leaves range from 3 to 6 inches in length and 1-3 inches in width.

Alternative Names

This plant is also known as Hoary Verbena, Woolly Vervain, and Tall Vervain.

Range and Habitat

Meadow in MA — Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


Range Map of Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta) in the United States

This species is generally located throughout the United States except for a few scattered states.


Hoary Vervain grows in open sunny places such meadows, fields, roadsides, and disturbed areas that are dry.

Theona Checkerspot butterfly on a leaf — Charlie Jackson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Metallic Bee on a Flower — David Whelan, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Host Species

This plant is a host to the Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) and the Theona Checkerspot (Chlosyne theona).

Other Wildlife Value

The flowers are used as a nectar source by other butterflies, bees, and insects.

Interesting Facts

The genus name, Verbena, derives from the Latin name for plants in religious ceremonies. The species name, stricta, means upright (Missouri Botanical Garden).

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