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Aloysia triphylla - (L'Hér.)Britton.                
Common Name Lemon Verbena, Lemon beebrush
Family Verbenaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards The essential oil from the plant might sensitise the skin to sunlight[238]. Large doses of the tea can cause gastric irritation [301].
Habitats Fields and roadsides[238]. Open scrub[260].
Range S. America - Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay. Locally naturalized in the Mediterranean[50].
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

UPDATE 20/09/2011: Aloysia triphylla (L'Hér.) Britton is a synonym of Aloysia citriodora Palau Also known as: Aloysia citrodora, Cedrón, Herb Louisa, Hierba Luisa, Lemon-Scented Verbena, Lippia citrodora, Lippia triphylla, Louisa, Verbena Citrodora, Verbena triphylla, Verveine Citronnée, Verveine Citronnelle, Verveine des Indes, Verveine du Chili, Verveine du Pérou, Verveine Odorante, Zappania citrodora.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Aloysia triphylla is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is frost tender. It is in leaf 11-May It is in flower in August, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Synonyms A. citrodora. Lippia citrodora. L. triphylla. Verbena triphylla.
Aloysia triphylla Lemon Verbena, Lemon beebrush

(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Aloysia triphylla Lemon Verbena, Lemon beebrush
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

Leaves - occasionally cooked as a spinach[177] but more commonly used as a flavouring in salads, fruit salads etc[14, 21, 104, 183]. A delicious lemon-like flavour, it is adored by most people who try it[K]. A delicious and refreshing tea is made from the leaves[14, 21, 103, 183]. The dried leaves will retain their lemon aroma for many years[4].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antispasmodic;  Aromatherapy;  Febrifuge;  Sedative;  Stomachic.

An undervalued medicinal herb, lemon verbena contains a strong lemon-scented essential oil that has calming and digestive qualities[254]. The plant has a gentle sedative action and a reputation for soothing abdominal discomfort. It has a mildly tonic effect upon the nervous system and helps to lift the spirits and counter depression[254]. The leaves and the flowering tops are antispasmodic, febrifuge, sedative and stomachic[4, 7, 238, 240]. A tea made from the leaves has a deliciously refreshing lemon flavour and is used mainly in treating digestive disorders[4] such as flatulence, indigestion and acidity[244]. Some caution is advisable though, since prolonged use or large internal doses can cause gastric irritation[268]. The herb is also useful as a stimulant for treating lethargy or depression[244] whilst it is also used to treat feverish colds[238]. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy in the treatment of nervous and digestive problems and also for acne, boils and cysts[238].
Other Uses
Essential;  Insecticide;  Pot-pourri;  Repellent.

An essential oil obtained from the leaves is extensively used in perfumery[7, 61]. An average yield of 0.5% is obtained[7]. There is some evidence that the use of this oil can sensitise the skin to sunlight and so its use has been largely replaced by the tropical plant lemongrass, Cymbopogon spp.[238]. The dried leaves retain their fragrance well and so are used in pot-pourri[238]. The growing plant repels midges, flies and other insects[201]. The essential oil is an effective insecticide in 1 - 2% concentration[240].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in most moderately fertile soils if they are well-drained[200]. Prefers a light soil[219]. Requires a sunny sheltered position[166, 200]. Requires a warm damp climate[7]. A very ornamental plant[1], lemon verbena is only hardy in the milder areas of Britain[1, 11, 14], growing well in Cornwall[59]. It can withstand about 10°c of frost[184] and survives outdoors on a wall at Kew[K]. It generally survives most winters outdoors if growing in a suitable position, though it is often cut back to ground level and then resprouts from the base in late spring[120] or early summer[238]. Giving the roots a good, thick organic mulch will confer extra protection from winter cold[244]. The plant succeeds outdoors at Howick, a garden on the coast of Northumberland. The leaves are very aromatic with a lemon scent[182], they are often used to make a drink or for their essential oils[4]. There has been considerable confusion over the naming of this species. We are following the treatment used in [11] and [200], which is also the current treatment in the 1999 edition of The Plant Finder. However, the book 'World Economic Plants' uses the name A. citrodora Palau (a different author to the one we cite) as the correct name. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring[219]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in late spring. Only just cover the seed and keep in a light position, making sure the compost does not dry out. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in early summer and give some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of softwood, May/June in a frame. Grow on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts[K]. The cuttings root quickly and easily, though there can be losses in the first winter[K]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Grow on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts[K]. The cuttings root quickly and easily, though there can be losses in the first winter[K].
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Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[14]Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs.
A good herbal.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[59]Thurston. Trees and Shrubs in Cornwall.
Trees and shrubs that succeed in Cornwall based on the authors own observations. Good but rather dated.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[103]Haywood. V. H. Flowering Plants of the World.
Very readable and well illustrated, it lists plants by families giving the basic diagnostic features and some details of plant uses.
[104]RHS. The Garden. Volume 111.
Snippets of information from the magazine of the RHS, including an article in Crambe maritima and another on several species thought to be tender that are succeeding in a S. Devon garden.
[120]? The Plantsman. Vol. 2. 1980 - 1981.
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants including Billardiera spp, Calochortus spp, Drimys spp.
[166]Taylor. J. The Milder Garden.
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[182]Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[184]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs.
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1900 species and cultivars.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[219]Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[244]Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
[260]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.
[268]Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism
Excellent herbal with good concise information on over 400 herbs.
[301]Karalliedde. L. and Gawarammana. I. Traditional Herbal Medicines
A guide to the safer use of herbal medicines.

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
phil batey Fri Jul 23 17:44:38 2004
There is a lot about the use of lemon verbena to treat digestive complaints but i wounder why its very potent effect at curing head aches when used in a tea has not been mentioned

Elizabeth H.
Concerned Viewer Tue Aug 21 2007
Warning For Use of Lemon Verbena, over dose of the plant (mainly from herbal teas) will cause irritation to the throat
Elizabeth H.
Frann Leach Mon Jun 1 2009

US Department of Agricultural, GRIN database Entry for Aloysia triphylla, where it is said to be a synonym for Aloysia citrodora Palau

Herbcyclopedia H.
Apr 26 2011 12:00AM
In a study performed by the Faculty of Medicine, Autonomous University of Madrid, it was demonstrated that the antioxidant capacity values of Lemon verbena infusion are comparable to those commercial antioxidant drink based on green tea.
Irene K.
I normally root hardwood cuttings of Verbena in sandy soil but I thought I'd try a few in water for a change and the results are spectacular. The photo shows the roots after three weeks in water. May 24 2012 12:00AM
I normally root hardwood cuttings of Verbena in sandy soil but I thought I'd try a few in water for a change and the results are spectacular. The photo shows the roots after three weeks in water.
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