• Verbena stricta - Hoary Verbena


    "Hoary Vervain is a North American native wildflower in the verbena family and is sparsely found on the coast of NC but is abundant in the central part of the USA. It is found in prairies, thickets, fields and is drought tolerant, preferring medium to dry sandy, rocky or clay soils with good drainage. 

    "Hoary Vervain is a clump-forming plant that naturalizes by self-seeding so deadhead to control spread if desired. When started from seed, it blooms in the second year, attracting butterflies and bees to its spikes of blue-purple (rarely pink) flowers. The leaves, stems and flowers have hairs giving it its common names."  (North Carolina Extension)

    Verbena Stricta Botany  by Dr. John Hilty

    Vervain family (Verbenaceae)


    "The preference is full sun and mesic to dry conditions. Generally, Hoary Vervain flourishes in poor soil containing some clay, sand, or gravel. In rich loamy soil, it will grow well, but has difficulty competing with other plants. Drought resistance is good, although some of the lower leaves may shrivel and fall off the plant. The seeds germinate readily in open areas where there is some exposure to sunlight." (Hilty)

    Faunal Associations: 

    "Many kinds of insects are attracted to the flowers, including long-tongued bees, green metallic bees, thread-waisted wasps, bee flies, thick-headed flies, butterflies, and skippers. Among the long-tongued bees, the flowers attract such visitors as honeybees, bumblebees, little carpenter bees, cuckoo bees (Triepeolus spp.), miner bees (Melissodes spp.), and leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.). A specialist visitor of the flowers is Calliopsis verbenae (Verbena Bee). Several grasshoppers feed on the foliage of Hoary Vervain: Hippiscus ocelote (Wrinkled Grasshopper), Melanoplus confusus (Little Pasture Grasshopper), Melanoplus femurrubrum (Red-Legged Grasshopper), and Melanoplus keeleri luridus (Keeler's Grasshopper). Other insect feeders include caterpillars of the moth Catabena lineolata (Fine-Lined Sallow), caterpillars of Crambodes talidiformis (Verbena Moth), and the aphid Macrosiphum verbenae. The seeds of Verbena spp. are eaten by various songbirds to a limited extent, including the Cardinal (winter), Slate-Colored Junco (winter), Field Sparrow, and others. It is possible that these birds help to distribute the seeds to new areas. Mammalian herbivores rarely eat Hoary Vervain because the foliage is quite hairy and bitter. It is considered an 'increaser' in overgrazed pastures." (Hilty)

    Works Cited


    1. By USFWS Mountain-Prairie - Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta) on Mixed Grass Prairie of Lacreek NWR, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48170111
    2. "Verbena stricta - native" By NPS Photo - NPGallery, Public Domain
    3. By Country Gardens Nursery, Copyright 2021, All Rights Reserved

    North Carolina Extension plant description: Verbena Stricta (Hoary Verbena, Hoary Vervain, Tall Vervain, Woolly Verbena) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/verbena-stricta/. Accessed 3 Feb. 2022.

    John Hilty botany, cultivation, faunal associations: John Hilty, "Hoary Verbena", Illinois Wildflowers, the publisher, Copyright 2004-2019. Accessed 3 February 2022

    Faunal associations image: "Hoar Vervain (Verbena stricta)" by wackybadger is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Information and images compiled by Erik N. Vegeto

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