White Vervain (Verbena urticifolia)
A relative of our garden Verbenas, but bearing little superficial resemblance to them. This is a delicate plant, tall,with long flower spikes, the tiny white flowers encircling the spike in a loose but narrow band, with buds above and developing seeds below. This plant was growing at the edge of the woods in Scott Township, where it was blooming in early July.
Gray’s note “(Trop. Am.)” is a little baffling; no other authority regards this as anything other than a native species.
Gray describes the genus and the species, which he spells urticaefolia:
VERBENA [Tourn.] L. VERVAIN. Calyx 5-toothed, one of the teeth often shorter than the others. Corolla tubular, often curved, salver-form; the border somewhat unequally 6-cleft. Stamens included , the upper pair occasionally without anthers. Style slender; stigma mostly 2-lobed. — Flowers sessile, in single or often panicled spikes, bracted, produced all summer. (The Latin name for any sacred herb; derivation obscure.) — The species present numerous spontaneous hybrids.
§ 1. Anthers not appendaged; flowers small, in slender spikes.
• Spikes filiform, with flowers or at least fruit scattered, naked, the inconspicuous bracts shorter than the calyx.
V. urticaefòlia L. (WHITE V.) Perennial, from minutely pubescent to almost glabrous, rather tall (0.5-1.6 m. high); leaves oval or oblong-ovate, acute, coarsely serrate, petioled; spikes at length much elongated, loosely panicled; flowers very small, white. — Thickets, roadsides, and waste ground. (Trop. Am.)