Moss Verbena
(Moss Vervain - South American Vervain - South American Mock Vervain)
Verbena tenuisecta
Verbenaceae (Vervain) Family

Plant is an upright or trailing perennial, rooting at the nodes. Preferred habitat is roadsides and yards. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are opposite on the stem; consisting of one whole part; no leaf stalk; triangular in shape but irregular; deeply dissected into nearly linear segments.

Flowers are solitary spikes; flowers are bisexual; not symmetrical. Calyx is five- lobed; corolla is funnel-shaped; five-lobed; lavender to purple or occasionally white. Flowering season is summer. Flowers occur in the summer.

These ground huggers come in purple, lavender and occasionally white forming dense colonies on roadside embankments, developing from creeping stems that take root at leaf nodes. The plant was a prized garden verbena many years ago and old home places still have them long after the homestead has been abandoned.

This is a large genus of plants and every region has its variation. A good example is in North and South Dakota where the plant is called Dakota Vervain and is described as V. bipinnnatifida; having only a slight difference in leaf structure. Nevertheless, the strains were naturalized from South America and are found in varying forms from North Carolina to Florida and west to Texas. Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky have allowed it to escape and thus enjoy the verbena blossoms in old fields and at roadside during warm summers. Arizona and California have the same form as is known on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast.

Having been a domestic garden plant, it is easily transplanted back to the flower bed.

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