[An ancient name for some sacred herb.]

"Vervain was held sacred among the ancient, and was employed in sacrifices, incantations, etc.; it was one of the plants termed by the Greeks, Sacred Herb. It was suspended around the neck as an amulet, thought good against bites, and recommended as a sovereign medicine for various diseases. It is supposed to have been in use with the Druids upon sacred occasions.'

"Lift your boughs of Vervain blue, Dip in cold September dew; And dash the moisture, chaste and clear, O'er the ground and through the air." - Mason.

"In Rome, the Vervain was used on various occasions, as, in religious ceremonies, incantations, treaties, etc.

"Bring your garlands, and with reverence place The Vervain on the altar." - Ben Johnson.

"Virgil mentions it as one of the charms used by an enchantress.

"Bring running water, bind those altars round With fillets, and with Vervain strow the ground." - Druids' Chorus.

"Drayton, in the Muse's Elysium, calls it the Holy Vervain, and in the same poem speaks of it as worn by heralds.

"A wreath of Vervain heralds wear, Amongst our garlands named, Being sent that dreadful news to hear, Offensive war proclaimed."

We have a number of indigenous Verbenas or Vervain in New England. V. hastata, which is the common blue Vervain, is the only one that has any claim to beauty, a tall and rather showy plant, often found by road sides on low ground; the stem is three or four feet high; leaves opposite, rough, sharply serrate, tapering to a point. Spikes numerous, erect, slender. The flowering commences at the base, and is long in reaching to the summit. Flowers close, of a dark-purplish blue. In bloom from July to September; perennial; not worth cultivating.

Garden Verbenas

The genus was considered a worthless weedy race, until the introduction of V Aubletia, chamaedrifolia, and Lambertii.

Verbena ehamaedrifolia was introduced into England from Buenos Ayres, by Mr. Hugh Cumming, an ardent lover of nature, about 1825. For a long time this was the only species cultivated; its form was excellent and its color of the most brilliant scarlet. The introduction of this beautiful and showy flower into this country, about the year 1835, created a great sensation among the florists of the day; and well it might, for we had nothing of the kind then in cultivation that could equal it in beauty and richness of coloring for masses. The flower in the brilliancy of the color, has not been surpassed in any new variety, though great improvements have been made in the size of the flowers and form of truss. The credit of producing the first white, crimson, and pink varieties, is due to Robert Buist of Philadelphia, from seed received from Buenos Ayres, about the year 1835. V.multifida, with lilac-purple flowers, was introduced from Peru; V. Iwee-diana, with rose-crimson flowers, from Brazil. From these have sprung all the numerous varieties, many hundred in number, now in our collections. In these vari-ties may be found every color except yellow, and even this color in its lighter shades, is sometimes seen in the eyes of some of the sorts. We now have crimson, scarlet, rose, white, lilac, blueish-purple, and purple in all their shades, with eyes of purple, crimson, rose, white, or straw color, and also a number of striped and spotted sorts. No plants are more generally cultivated, or more eagerly sought after, than this beautiful family. I sometimes wonder how a flower-garden could be considered passable without the Verbena. The habits of all are similar, naturally prostrate creeping plants, taking root freely where-ever the stems come in contact with the ground, and sending forth innumerable clusters of their many hued, brilliant flowers, from June to November.

"The qualities of a first-class Verbena as laid down by florists, are: Roundness of flower without indenture, notch, or serrature; petals thick, flat, bright, and smooth; the plant should be compact, with short, stout joints, either distinctly of a shrubby habit, or a close ground creeper or climber; the trusses of bloom compact, standing out from the foliage; the flowers meeting but not crowding each other; the foliage should be short, broad, bright, and enough to hide stalk; in the eyed and striped varieties, the colors should be well defined and lasting, never running into each other, or changing in the sun." I should also add that the truss should be hemispherical, not flat, and the center filled out full with perfect flowers, destitute of green eyes or flower-buds.

The Verbena is kept with difficulty through the winter, except in the green-house or in warm rooms; unless kept growing, it will perish. It cannot therefore be kept even in a dry cellar, and it is not hardy enough to stand the winter.

Most of the varieties are easily raised from cuttings, and can be purchased at so small a price from florists, that it is by far the most economical to buy a few dozen in the spring than attempt to keep them through the winter. Small plants turned out from the pots in June, soon make large plants, and by October will be two or three feet across. They continue to flower after severe frosts, and are among the last lingering flowers of autumn.

The seed, sown in May, in the open ground, will begin to show flowers in August; but, when the seed is sown in January, in the green-house, and afterwards potted and placed in a hot-bed in March or April, will begin to flower in June.

Seedling plants produce seed in abundance, but those plants, which have been a long time propagated from cuttings,.loose that power in a great measure, and produce none or very sparingly. It is easy enough to raise seedlings, but the chance of getting an improved variety, may not be one to twenty or one in fifty.

No plant equals the Verbena for masses, particularly when grown in fanciful beds and on lawns, as the brilliancy of the flowers contrasts finely with the green grass.