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Animal Science and Forages > ASF Blog > Posts > Weed of the Month: Verbena, vervain


The following species of Verbena are present in Alabama, as documented in the Alabama Plant Atlas (Alabama Herbarium Consortium and The University of West Alabama).



Common name(s)Scientific name
Purple top vervain; South American vervainVerbena bonariensis
Carpent vervain; prostrate vervain; bracted vervainVerbena bracteata
Brazilian vervainVerbena brasiliensis
Gray vervainVerbena canescens
Texas vervainVerbena halei
Blue vervain; Simpler's Joy; Wild HyssopVerbena hastate
Clasping verbenaVerbena incompta
Uruguayan vervainVerbena montevidensis
Euopean vervain; Juno's Tears; Herb of the CrossVerbena officinalis
Stiff verbena; tuberous vervain; rigid verbenaVerbena rigida
Rough vervain; harsh vervain; sandpaper vervainVerbena scabra
Narrowleaf vervainVerbena simplex
Supine vervainVerbena supina
White vervain; nettle leaf vervainVerbena urticifolia
Gulf vervainVerbena xutha




Are there many species of Verbena? Approximately 80 species of Verbena or Vervain occur in the world, while most species are found in the South.


Is verbena an annual or perennial?  Depending on the species of verbena, they can be annual or perennial. For example, Verbena hastata is a perennial while Verbena officinalis is an annual.


What are distinguishing characteristics of Verbena? They have square, hairy stems and grow to a height of 2-4 feet tall. Most species will have a purple inflorescence on a candelabra-like spike that produces flowers from April to September. The leaves are opposite, simple, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate; pinnately lobed, dissected or 3-lobed and pubescent.


How does Verbena reproduce? Perennials spread by rhizomes while annuals reproduce by seed.


What areas is it adaptable?  Verbena prefers moist soil conditions and partial to full sun.  It will grow on roadsides, field borders, wastelands, and pastures.


Is Verbena toxic? There is no information regarding Verbena being toxic to animals.


How do I control Verbena? Verbena may be controlled both mechanically and chemically. Mowing the plants off prior to seedhead formation will reduce stands approximately 75% if the season is dry. Several herbicides are very effective on Verbena if applied when they are less than 5 inches tall including 2,4-D, Weedmaster, Grazon P+D, and GrazonNXT.  If the opportunity is missed to spray small, Verbena plants, then mechanically mowing plants before seedhead production will be the best option.


A PDF version of this timely information sheet is available.


Where can I get additional information? Contact Joyce A. Tredaway at



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