Verbena hastata

 Botanical Name : Verbena hastata
Family: Verbenaceae
Genus: Verbena
Species: V. hastata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms:  Herb of Grace. Herbe Sacrée. Herba veneris.

Common Names :Vervain , Blue Vervain, Wild Hyssop, Simpler’s Joy, Herb of the cross, Swamp Verbena.

Habitat : Verbena hastata is native to Europe, Barbary, China, Cochin-China  & Japan. It grows  in moist meadows near floodplain woodlands, soggy thickets, borders of rivers and ponds, marshes, ditches, fence rows, and pastures. This plant adapts readily to degraded wetlands and other disturbed areas, but it can be found in higher quality habitats as well.

Description:
Verbena hastata is a slender, but erect, perennial plant that grows up to 5′ tall, branching occasionally in the upper half. The green or red stems are four-angled, sometimes with fine white hairs. The opposite leaves are up to 6″ long and 1″ across. They are lanceolate, conspicuously veined, and have short petioles. The margins are coarsely serrated with variably sized teeth. The upper stems terminate in a panicle of flowering spikes. These erect spikes are up to 5″ long, and densely crowded all around with numerous reddish blue or violet flowers. Each flower is a little less than ¼” across, and has 5 lobes flaring outward from a slender corolla tube. There is no scent. Four nutlets are produced per flower – they are reddish brown, oblong, and triangular convex. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer, and lasts about 1½ months. The root system has fibrous roots and short rhizomes.The flowers are often a pretty blue or violet, but they are quite small. Blue Vervain is easy to identify because it is the only vervain with elegant spikes of flowers in this color range.
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Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sunlight and moist conditions. The soil should consist of a fertile loam or wet muck. This plant tolerates standing water, if it is temporary. This is a good plant to locate near a small river or pond in a sunny location.

Medicinal Uses:

: * Anxiety * Colds * Depression * Lupus * Nerve/Back Pain

Properties: * AntiCancer * Antiscrofulous * Antispasmodic * Astringent * Bitter * Digestive * emetic * Emmenagogue * Febrifuge * Nervine * Stomachic * Vulnerary
Parts Used: Leaves, flowering heads
Constituents:  tannin

Vervain has been useful to herbal healers for many centuries of recorded history, both in the Europe (Verbena officinalis)Netje Blanchan  and in North America, (V. hastata),yet there is a dearth of human studies with this herb. Vervain’s healing properties are attributed primarily to its bitter and stimulating effect on the liver and other organs, as well as its relaxing effect on the nervous system. 2 Vervain is useful in many diseases as a pain reliever and natural tranquilizer, an expectorant used to treat chronic bronchitis, and an antirheumatic used to relive joint pain. Herbalists consider vervain especially helpful when depression is related to chronic illness. As an added benefit, it can help to heal any damage that has occurred to the liver.

Other Uses:
The flowers attract many kinds of long-tongued and short-tongued bees, including Epeoline Cuckoo bees, Eucerine Miner bees, Halictid bees, and the oligolege Calliopsis verbenae (Verbena Bee).These bees seek primarily nectar, although some species collect pollen. Other flower visitors include Ammophila spp. (Thread-Waisted wasps), Bee flies, Thick-Headed flies, small butterflies and skippers, and Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus (Goldenrod Soldier Beetle). The caterpillars of Crambodes talidiformis (Verbena Moth) feed on the foliage. Most mammalian herbivores avoid eating this plant because of the bitter leaves – an exception is the Cottontail Rabbit, which may eat the foliage of young plants to a limited extent. Also, various songbirds occasionally eat the seeds, including the Cardinal, Swamp Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Slate-Colored Junco (during the winter). Experimental studies have shown that these seeds can pass undamaged through the digestive tracts of cattle, therefore they are probably distributed to some extent by these seed-eating birds.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/wetland/plants/bl_vervain.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbena_hastata
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail121.php

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