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Genus Verbena Family Verbenaceae
Common Name: Verbenas

Description: Herbs, sometimes slightly woody at base, open or even decumbent, matted or tufted, rarely glabrous.

Leaves mostly decussate, rarely whorled, margin entire or variously incised to pinnatisect.

Inflorescences terminal or rarely axillary, elongated to capitate spikes, usually dense, many-flowered, often elongating after flowering; flowers solitary in axil of bracts. Calyx usually tubular, unequally and minutely 4- or 5-toothed. Corolla tube straight or slightly curved; lobes 5, slightly unequal and spreading. Stamens 4, didynamous, included in corolla tube. Ovary 4-locular with 1 ovule per loculus.

Fruit dry, separating at maturity into 4, 1-seeded mericarps.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 250 species, mainly temperate, subtropical & tropical America and the Near East region, widely cultivated;; 2 species from Mediterranean region. Australia: c. 13 species (c. 10 species naturalized), Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas., S.A.

Text by B.J. Conn
Taxon concept: B.J. Conn (1999)

 Key to the species 
1Leaves with base of lamina subcordate, slightly clasping branch, hence lamina distinctly sessile; margin variously serrate, never lobed2
Leaves with base of lamina acute, attenuate, tapering or narrow; lamina shortly petiolate or superficially appearing so, but never clasping branch; margin variously pinnatifid, or at least with some leaves variously toothed or sometimes with margin of some leaves entire4
2Bracts conspicuously longer than calyx; corolla-tube c. 3 times longer than calyxVerbena rigida
Bracts shorter than, equal to or slightly longer than calyx; corolla-tube up to 2 times longer than calyx
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3Corolla-tube distinct, much longer than calyx; bracts, calyx and peduncles distinctly glandular; mericarps 1.5–1.8 mm longVerbena bonariensis
Corolla-tube only slightly longer than calyx; bracts, calyx and peduncles only occasionally with a few stalked glands; mericarps 1.3–1.5 mm long
                       Back to 2
Verbena incompta
4Lower leaves with margin variously pinnatifid or pinnatisect; ultimate divisions narrowly linear, or subulate to narrowly obovate (note: upper leaves smaller, with margin incised to subentire)5
4Leaves (upper and lower) with margin variously toothed or sometimes with margin of some leaves entire, never pinnatifid or pinnatisect; ultimate divisions more or less obliquely ovate to triangular6
5Calyx 5-toothed, long-tubular, 6–9 mm long; corolla tube 11–14 mm long; spike with flowers overlapping each otherGlandularia aristigera
Calyx 4-toothed, to c. 3 mm long; corolla tube 1.5–2 mm long; spike with flowers not or just overlapping each other
                       Back to 4
Verbena supina
6Branches moderately glandular distally7
Branches non-glandular
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7Branches with eglandular hairs antrorse; calyx 5-toothed; infloresnce spikes compact, 6–12 mm diameterVerbena hispida
Branches with eglandular hairs variously spreading; calyx 4-toothed; inflorescence slender, 5–6 mm diameter
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Verbena macrostachya
8Calyx 4-toothed; branches glabrous, except for a few hairs on or near nodesVerbena caracasana
Calyx 5-toothed; branches variously hairy throughout, may be sparsely so, or glabrous
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9Flowers crowded, opening together in whorlsVerbena quadrangularis
Flowers distant, opening singly along inflorescence axis
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10Leaves deeply incised, such that lamina reduced to a central narrow rachis with long, narrow lobes (teeth); inflorescence lacking glandsVerbena gaudichaudii
Leaves variously serrate, but lamina not reduced to a central rachis; inflorescences glandular or eglandular (V. x brasiliensis and V. litoralis)
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11Inflorescences eglandular12
Inflorescences, bracts and calyces distinctly glandular
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12Inflorescences consisting of long slender spikes, with flowers spaced along axis, flowers opening together in a narrow zone near apex of inflorescence; lower leaves variously acutely serrate, 1- or 2-pinnatifidVerbena litoralis
Inflorescences consisting of long slender spikes, with flowers crowded together, flowers opening together in distal part of inflorescences, but in a broader zone than for V. litoralis; lower leaves coarsely serrate, never pinnatifid
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Verbena x brasiliensis
13Leaves with margin bluntly serrate, 1- or 2-pinnatifid; corolla twice as long as calyx; bracts shorter than calyxVerbena officinalis
Leaves with margin serrate, never pinnatifid; corolla slightly longer than calyx; bracts at least reaching top of calyx or shorter than calyx
                       Back to 11
Verbena africana

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