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Useful Tropical Plants

Verbena officinalis

L.

Verbenaceae

+ Synonyms

Verbena adricana (R.Fern. & Verdc.) P.W.Michael

Verbena adulterina Hausskn.

Verbena domingensis Urb.

Verbena macrostachya F.Muell.

Verbena riparia Raf. ex Small & A.Heller

Verbena rumelica Velen.

Verbena sororia D.Don

Verbena spicata Gilib.

Verbena spuria L.

Verbena urticifolia riparia (Raf. ex Small & A.Heller) Britton

Verbena vulgaris Bubani

Common Name: Vervain

Verbena officinalis
Flowering plant in Germany
Photograph by: Malte
Creative Commons License
Verbena officinalis Verbena officinalis Verbena officinalis

General Information

Verbena officinalis is a perennial plant growing up to 1 metre tall.
The plant is often used in modern herbalism, where it has a wide range of applications. It is usually gathered from the wild both for local use and for sale, but is sometimes also cultivated.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

A worldwide weed in the temperate and tropical zones.

Habitat

Waste ground and roadsides, avoiding acid soils and shady positions[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
,
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.60 m
PollinatorsBees, Flies, Lepidoptera, self
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details


A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained but moisture retentive soil in a sunny position[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Plants are very tolerant of neglect and will maintain themselves for a number of years even when growing in dense weed competition[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Self-sows freely when growing in a suitable position[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The plant has spread around the world, accompanying human activity, and is a weed from the temperate zone to the tropics.
The growing plant attracts butterflies and moths[
30
Title
Butterflies and Moths in Britain and Europe.
Publication
 
Author
Carter D.
Publisher
Pan
Year
1982
ISBN
0-330-26642-x
Description
An excellent book on Lepidoptera, it also lists their favourite food plants.
].

Edible Uses

Leaves - parboiled, seasoned and then eaten[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

The leaves are used as a tea substitute[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

The flowers are used as a garnish[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Medicinal

Vervain, which has tonic and restorative properties, is sometimes used as a domestic herbal remedy. It is useful when taken internally in the treatment of headaches, fevers, nervous exhaustion, depression, gall bladder problems, insufficient lactation etc[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. It should not be given to pregnant women, though it can be used to assist contractions during labour[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. Externally, it is used to treat minor injuries, eczema, sores, neuralgia and gum disease[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
The leaves and flowering stems are analgesic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, antispasmodic, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, mildly diuretic, emmenagogue, galactagogue, stimulant, tonic and vulnerary[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
9
Title
Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Launert. E.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1981
ISBN
0-600-37216-2
Description
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
,
21
Title
The Herb Book.
Publication
 
Author
Lust. J.
Publisher
Bantam books
Year
1983
ISBN
0-553-23827-2
Description
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
,
147
Title
A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Running Press; Philadelphica.
Year
1977
ISBN
0-914294-92-X
Description
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
,
165
Title
The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
Publication
 
Author
Mills. S. Y.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent small herbal.
,
176
Title
Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas.
Publication
 
Author
Yeung. Him-Che.
Publisher
Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles
Year
1985
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent Chinese herbal giving information on over 500 species. Rather technical and probably best suited to the more accomplished user of herbs.
,
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
,
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. The plant is harvested as flowering begins in the summer and dried for later use[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
,
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
Some remarkable results have been obtained when using this plant in the treatment of certain tumours, but further research needs to be carried out before definite claims can be made[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
].

The root is astringent, it is used in the treatment of dysentery[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].

This species was ranked 12th in a Chinese survey of 250 potential antifertility plants[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].

The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Strain', 'Stress', 'Tension' and 'Over-enthusiasm'[
209
Title
Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies
Publication
 
Author
Chancellor. P. M.
Publisher
C. W. Daniel Co. Ltd.
Year
1985
ISBN
85207 002 0
Description
Details the 38 remedies plus how and where to prescribe them.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in containers and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 3 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out when large enough.
If you have sufficient seed, it can also be sown in situ.
Division, preferably in the dormant season. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade until they are growing away well.
Basal cuttings. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade until they are rooting well.

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