This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Herbs (some exotic species shrubby), mostly with opposite leaves, and variously colored bracted flowers, in terminal solitary corymbed or panicled spikes. Calyx usually tubular, 5-angled, more or less unequally 5-toothed. Corolla salverform or funnelform, the tube straight or somewhat curved, the limb spreading, 5-lobed, slightly 2-lipped or regular. Stamens 4, didynamous, or very rarely only 2, included; connective of the anthers unap-pendaged, or sometimes provided with a gland. Ovary 4-celled; ovule 1 in each cavity; style usually short, 2-lobed at the summit, one of the lobes stigmatic. Fruit dry, mostly enclosed by the calyx, at length separating into 4, 1-seeded linear or linear-oblong crustaceous smooth papillose or rugose nutlets. [Latin name of a sacred herb.]
About 100 species, natives of America, or a single one indigenous in the Mediterranean region. Besides the following, some 15 others occur in the southern and western parts of North America. Type species: Verbena officinalis L.
Flowers 2"-5" long, in narrow spikes; anthers unappendaged. Spikes filiform or slender; bracts shorter than the flowers. Spikes filiform; fruit scattered; corolla usually white.
Leaves incised or pinnatifid; diffuse annual; fruit short.
1. V. officinalis.
Leaves serrate (rarely incised): erect perennial; fruit oblong.
2. V. urticifolia.
Spikes slender; fruit densely imbricated: corolla blue.
Plants glabrous or sparingly rough-pubescent; corolla 2" -3" long. Leaves lanceolate, acuminate, petioled.
3. V. hastata.
Leaves linear or spatulate-lanceolate. mostly obtuse and sessil 4. V. angustifolia.
Plants densely soft-pubescent; corolla 4"-5" long.
5;. V. stricta.
Spikes thick, dense; bracts longer than the flowers.
6. V. bracteosa.
flowers 7" -12" long, in short dense elongating spikes; connective of the longer stamens appendaged. Corolla-limb 6"-12" broad; bracts mostly shorter than the calyx.
7. V. canadensis.
Corolla-limb 4"- 7" broad; bracts equalling or exceeding the calyx.
8. V. bipinnatifida.
Verbena officinalis L. Sp. Pl. 20. 1753.
Annual; stem 4-sided, slender, glabrous or nearly so, ascending or spreading, diffusely branched, 1°-3° high. Leaves minutely pubescent, the lower deeply incised or 1-2 pinnatifid, ovate, oblong, or obovate in outline, 1'-3' long, narrowed into margined petioles, the teeth acute; upper leaves linear or lanceolate, acute, entire, sessile; spikes several or numerous, filiform, at length 4'-5' long; fruits less than 1" high, scattered along the spikes, not at all imbricated; bracts ovate, acuminate, shorter than the 5-toothed calyx; corolla purplish or white, the limb 1"-2" broad.
In waste and cultivated ground, Maine to Florida, Tennessee and Texas. Also on the Pacific Coast and in the West Indies. Naturalized from the Old World. Sometimes a troublesome weed. Herb-grace. Holy-herb. Enchanter's-plant. Juno's-tears. Pigeon's-grass. Simpler's-joy. June-Sept.