Sun: Full

Moisture: Medium to wet

Height: 3-5'

Bloom Time: Jul-Sep

Bloom Color: Blue

Genotype: Winona, MN (shares a Level II ecosystem, Mixed Woods Plains, with Southeastern Michigan).

Indigenous interactions: In the Great Lakes area, the Menominee used an infusion of the root to "clear up cloudy urine" (Moerman, 1998).

 

Though a good pollinator plant, Verbena can look a bit weedy later in the season and is best surrounded by other plants. 

 

One old American name for this plant is "Simpler's Joy." This is due to a conflation of V. hastata, native to North America, with the similar V. officinalis, native to Europe and called "Herb-of-the-Cross," for its supposed history of growing on the Mount of Calvary and being used to stanch the wounds of Jesus Christ on the cross. V. officinalis has been regarded as a powerfully medicinal plant, even one with supernatural powers, since ancient times.

 

"Simpler" is an old term for an herbalist; a "simple," from the Latin "simplus" (mid 16th century) was a medicine made from one constituent, especially 1 plant. This occupation is mentioned in an 1863 edition of the Michigan Farmer magazine, in an reprint of an article from the New England Farmer:

 

"All the ancient customs of herb gathering seem to be falling into neglect. The simpler, whose labors were so valuable to a distant by-gone generation, has become as rare as a hermit; her labors are now appreciated only by a few; and those few are such as have not kept peace with the community's. progress of knowledge. There was a time when the simpler was one of the most important personages in any village neighborhood--the majority of the people in the village and the country around depended on her labors and her collections for the medicines which were to save them from disease..." 

--Michigan Farmer, Vol. 2 No. 2, August, 1863.

Verbena hastata (Blue Vervain)

$4.99Price