verbena n : any of numerous tropical or subtropical American plants of the genus Verbena grown for their showy spikes of variously colored flowers [syn: vervain]
a genus of herbaceous plants
- French: verveine
- Hungarian: verbéna
- Italian: verbena
- 1918 : Linda pulled a piece of verbena and crumpled it, and held her hands to her mother. - Katherine Mansfield, Prelude (Selected Stories, Oxford World's Classics paperback 2002, 116)
- This article is about the plant of genus Verbena. For other
plants called "verbenas", see below. For
other meanings, see Verbena
- "Vervain" redirects here. For other uses, see Vervain (disambiguation).
The leaves are usually opposite, simple, and in many species hairy, often densely so. The flowers are small, with five petals, and borne in dense spikes. Typically some shade of blue, they may also be white, pink, or purple, especially in cultivars.
Ecology and human usesSome species, hybrids and cultivars of vervain are used as ornamental plants. They are valued in butterfly gardening in suitable climates, attracting Lepidoptera such as the Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum), Chocolate Albatross (Appias lyncida), or the Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), and also hummingbirds. Especially Common Vervain (V. officinalis) is also grown as a honey plant.
For some vervain pathogens, see List of verbena diseases. Cultivated vervains are sometimes parasitized by Sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) and spread this pest to other crops.
Vervain has longstanding use in herbalism and folk medicine, usually as a herbal tea. Nicholas Culpeper's 1652 The English Physitian discusses folk uses. Among others effects, it may act as a galactagogue and possibly sex steroid analogue. It is one of the original 38 Bach flower remedies, prescribed against "over-enthusiasm". The plants are also sometimes used as abortifacient.
Compounds that have been identified in vervains include β-myrcene, verbenone, caffeic acid (and derivatives) and indeterminate glycosides.
The essential oil of various species - mainly Common Vervain - is traded as Spanish Verbena oil. Considered inferior to oil of Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora) in perfumery, it is of some commercial importance for herbalism and it seems to be a promising source of medical compounds. Verveine, the famous green liqueur from the region of Le Puy-en-Velay (France) is flavored with vervains.
Vervains in human cultureVerbena has long been associated with divine and other supernatural forces. It was called "tears of Isis" in Ancient Egypt, and later on "Juno's tears". In Ancient Greece, it was dedicated to Eos Erigineia. In the early Christian era, folk legend stated that Common Vervain (V. officinalis) was used to staunch Jesus' wounds after his removal from the cross. It was consequently called "Holy Herb" or (e.g. in Wales) "Devil's bane".
Other legends held it that vervain protects people from vampires, by mixing it in a herbal tea, keeping it near you, or using oil extracted from it in a bath. Vervain flowers are engraved on cimaruta, Italian anti-stregheria charms. In the 1870 The History and Practice of Magic by "Paul Christian" (Jean Baptiste Pitois) it is employed in the preparation of a mandragora charm.
While Common Vervain is not native to North America, it has been introduced there and for example the Pawnee have adopted it as an entheogen enhancer and in oneiromancy, much like Calea zacatechichi is used in Mexico.
The generic name is the Ancient Roman term for sacrificial herbs considered very powerful. Pliny the Elder describes verbena presented on Jupiter altars; it is not entirely clear if this referred to a Verbena rather than the general term for prime sacrificial herbs.
The common names of Common Vervain in many Central and Eastern Europes languages often associate it with iron.
In hanakotoba (花言葉, Japanese flower-language), vervains are called bijozakura (美女桜) and are a symbol of cooperativeness. In Western culture, they are the birthday flower of July 29.
An indeterminate vervain is among the plants on the eighth panel of the New World Tapestry ("Expedition to Cape Cod"), embroidered in 1602/03.
- Verbena alata
- Verbena bipinnatifida
- Verbena bonariensis – Purpletop Vervain, Clustertop Vervain, Tall Verbena, South American Vervain, Pretty Verbena, "purpletop"
- Verbena bracteata – Large-bracted Vervain
- Verbena brasiliensis – Brazilian Verbena
- Verbena californica
- Verbena canadensis
- Verbena carolina
- Verbena clavata
- Verbena corymbosa
- Verbena cuneifolia
- Verbena × deamii
- Verbena demissa
- Verbena elegans
- Verbena × engelmannii
- Verbena gracilis
- Verbena hastata L. – Swamp Verbena, Blue Vervain
- Verbena hispida
- Verbena × hybrida – Hybrid Verbena, Garden Vervain
- Verbena incisa
- Verbena laciniata
- Verbena lasiostachys
- Verbena lilacina cv. 'De La Mina'.
- Verbena litoralis
- Verbena macdougallii
- Verbena macrostachya F.Muell.
- Verbena menthifolia
- Verbena officinalis – Common Vervain, Simpler's Joy, Holy Herb, "mosquito plant", "wild hyssop"
- Verbena × perriana
- Verbena peruviana
- Verbena phlogiflora
- Verbena rigida
- Verbena robusta
- Verbena runyonii
- Verbena × rydbergii
- Verbena simplex – Narrow-leafed Vervain
- Verbena speciosa
- Verbena sphaerocarpa
- Verbena stricta – Hoary Vervain
- Verbena supina
- Verbena tenera
- Verbena tenuisecta
- Verbena teucroides
- Verbena triphylla L.
- Verbena urticifolia – White Vervain
- Verbena xutha
- Herb Teas and Old Remedies : Verbena (fr.with translator)
- Other "verbenas" of the family Verbenaceae:
- Unrelated plants called "verbenas":
- Unrelated plants whose scientific names refer to Verbena:
- Arthur B. Howard
verbena in Arabic: لويزة (نبات)
verbena in Bulgarian: Върбинка
verbena in Catalan: Berbena
verbena in Danish: Verbena
verbena in German: Verbenen
verbena in Spanish: Verbena (botánica)
verbena in French: Verveine
verbena in Italian: Verbena (genere)
verbena in Hungarian: Vasfű
verbena in Japanese: バーベナ
verbena in Polish: Werbena
verbena in Portuguese: Verbena
verbena in Romanian: Verbena
verbena in Russian: Вербена
verbena in Vietnamese: Chi cỏ Roi ngựa