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Verbena hastata (blue vervain or swamp verbena) is a flowering plant in the vervain family, Verbenaceae. It is a herb with opposite, simple leaves which have double-serate margins, borne on stiffly erect, branching square stems. The flowers appear in summer and are purple. This is a common plant that occurs across North America. They are hardy and drought resistant.
Also known as simpler's joy and blue verbena, blue vervain is a native perennial plant found throughout New England and the United States. The entire plant grows 2 to 6 feet high, with multiple, small, blue-violet flowers emerging from spikes about five inches long. The tubular blossoms have five lobes that open 1/8 inch wide. The plant has a tall, square-edged stem with stalks that terminate into the spikes. The stalks may be green or reddish, and may be covered in fine white hairs. Narrow and rough serrated leaves, about 6 inches long and 1 inch across, grow in an opposite pattern up the stems, attached to the stalk by short petioles. The root system of the plant is fibrous. Blue vervain can be easily distinguished from other types of vervain because of its distinctive color.Blue vervain is a perennial plant that grows each year from the root stock of the year before. It is also a biennial, so it does not begin to bloom until the second year of its life. The flowers bloom for about a month and a half from July to September. Four nutlets are produced from each flower. Blue vervain attracts a lot of wildlife: many different species of insects and bees, particularly bumblebees, collect nectar and pollen; cotton-tailed rabbits eat the young plants; and many birds, such as sparrows and cardinals, eat the seeds.
Rings of blue-violet tubular 1/4 inch flowers advance up the many densely flowering spikes of the candelabra-like flower heads from June through October, lance-shaped toothed leaves up to 6 inch long, stout stemmed, attracts butterflies, great for native and honey bees, larval host for Common Buckeye Butterfly (Junonia coenia), good cut flower, rain garden plant, songbirds like the seeds, a short lived perennial so let it seed in. Blue vervain (Verbena hastata) plants have been valued for generations as hardy, ornamental butterfly attractions. They have a long history of use as a medicinal remedy, as well as being dried for herbal tea. Ancient legends associate this plant with supernatural power, even telling the story that a plant of this genus was used to prepare the body of Jesus for burial. The species name "hastata" comes from the Latin words for "spear-shaped," referring to the shape of the leaves. (Source: www.everwilde.com)