Flowers of the Day: Blue Vervain, White Vervain

Verbena hastata and Verbena urticifolia; Verbenaceae (verbena family)

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Blue vervain, also known as swamp vervain, likes wet soils and full sun, and can be found all across the US in two varieties.  Some authorities consider it weedy in the West.  It grows up to five feet tall, with flower spikes up to half a foot long; the individual flowers are about 1/4″ across.

White vervain grows somewhat larger (up to six feet), with longer flower spikes (up to two feet), but much smaller flowers (1/8″ across).  It prefers slightly drier soils and more shade, though I have seen it growing mere feet away from blue vervain.  There are two varieties of white vervain, too, but neither is found in the West.  Some authorities consider it potentially weedy or invasive.  It is listed as possibly extirpated in Maine.

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Flower of the Day: Lopseed

Phryma leptostachya; Verbenaceae (verbena family)

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This is one of my favorites.  It’s the flower that got me thinking about using tiny details to create abstract art.  The three purple teeth on the back of the calyx can’t be seen by the unaided eye:

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Lopseed is a woodland forb native to the eastern US.  The plant stands about two and a half feet tall; the inflorescence can be a foot long, but each individual flower is about 1/8″ long.  They seem so out of proportion to the plant overall.

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I was just thrilled to find a stand about a ten minute walk from my house.