Verbena officinalis - L.
Common Name Vervain, Herb of the cross, Prostrate verbena
Family Verbenaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards High doses of verbenalin can cause nervous system paralysis resulting in stupor & convulsion. Allopathic medicine for high blood pressure can be effected by vervain. Uterus stimulation possible - avoid during pregnancy. Avoid if breast feeding. If allergies or fits use with caution [301].
Habitats Waste ground and roadsides, avoiding acid soils and shady positions[4, 7, 17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Denmark south and east to N. Africa, W. Asia to the Himalayas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

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Verbena officinalis Vervain, Herb of the cross, Prostrate verbena
Verbena officinalis Vervain, Herb of the cross, Prostrate verbena
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Verbena officinalis is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 10-Apr It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.


 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Leaves - parboiled, seasoned and then eaten[183]. The leaves are used as a tea substitute[7, 183]. The flowers are used as a garnish[183].
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.

Analgesic;  Antibacterial;  Anticoagulant;  Antipruritic;  Antirheumatic;  Antispasmodic;  Antitumor;  Astringent;  
Bach;  Birthing aid;  Depurative;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Galactogogue;  
Stimulant;  Tonic;  Vulnerary.

Vervain, which has tonic and restorative properties, is sometimes used as a domestic herbal remedy. It is useful when taken internally in the treatment of headaches, fevers, nervous exhaustion, depression, gall bladder problems, insufficient lactation etc[4, 238]. It should not be given to pregnant women, though it can be used to assist contractions during labour[238]. Externally, it is used to treat minor injuries, eczema, sores, neuralgia and gum disease[238]. The leaves and flowering stems are analgesic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, antispasmodic, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, mildly diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, stimulant, tonic and vulnerary[4, 9, 21, 147, 165, 176, 218, 238]. The plant is harvested as flowering begins in the summer and dried for later use[7, 238]. Some remarkable results have been obtained when using this plant in the treatment of certain tumours, but further research needs to be carried out before definite claims can be made[7]. The root is astringent, it is used in the treatment of dysentery[218]. This species was ranked 12th in a Chinese survey of 250 potential antifertility plants[218]. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Strain', 'Stress', 'Tension' and 'Over-enthusiasm'[209].


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained but moisture retentive soil in a sunny position[1, 200]. Plants are very tolerant of neglect and will maintain themselves for a number of years even when growing in dense weed competition[K]. Self-sows freely when growing in a suitable position[K]. The growing plant attracts butterflies and moths[30].
Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 3 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. If you have sufficient seed, it can also be sown in situ in late spring. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Basal cuttings in early summer. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Abronia fragransSnowball Sand Verbena21
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Abronia turbinataTransmontane Sand Verbena01
Abronia villosaDesert Sand Verbena01
Aloysia triphyllaLemon Verbena, Lemon beebrush43
Callicarpa americanaAmerican Beautyberry, Beautyberry, French Mulberry, American Beautyberry22
Callicarpa japonicaBeautyberry, Japanese callicarpa, Japanese Beautyberry10
Callicarpa macrophylla 12
Callicarpa mollis 10
Callicarpa pedunculata 02
Clerodendrum bungeiGlory Flower, Rose glorybower, Cashmere Bouquet, Mexican Hydrangea, Glory Bower01
Clerodendrum cyrtophyllum 11
Clerodendrum japonicumJapanese glorybower11
Clerodendrum kwangtungense 10
Clerodendrum trichotomumChou Wu Tong, Harlequin glorybower, Ferruginous clerodendrum, Harlequin Glory Bower13
Lantana camaraWild Sage, Lantana Verbena24
Lippia graveolensMexican Oregano40
Phyla nodifloraFrogfruit, Turkey tangle fogfruit12
Salvia verbenacaWild Clary22
Verbena hastataAmerican Blue Vervain, Swamp verbena12
Verbena strictaHoary Vervain, Hoary verbena11
Verbena urticifoliaWhite Vervain01
Vitex agnus-castusAgnus Castus, Lilac chastetree, Vitex, Chastetree25
Vitex cannabifolia 02
Vitex negundoHuang Ping, Chinese chastetree, Cut Leaf Vitex, Cut-leaf Chastetree23


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Botanical References
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Readers comment
Gale Chester Whittington   Mon Jul 28 2008 Free Wild and Domestic Oklahoma flower photos and tips

Jose Waizel-Bucay   Thu Jan 1 2009
Synon: Verbena setosa M. Martens & Galeotti
   Aug 15 2011 12:00AM
Verbena officinalis contains AMPHITINE It help to hold skin graphting(surgical procedure) It grows abundant in planes of Punjab especially Faisalabad Pakistan We use it at conventional antiaging with Bacopa and gotukola herbalist Anwar Khan Lodhi
   Sep 23 2012 12:00AM
I have some growing in a shady bed in my back garden here in London - it just gets morning sun.
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Subject : Verbena officinalis  

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