Verbena officinalis L.

Common Verbena

Sp. Pl. 1: 20 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Herb 0.3–1(–1.5) m high; branches erect, quadrangular, with or without glands, scabrous or pubescent when young, becoming glabrescent to glabrous and smooth. Leaves sessile to subsessile; lower leaves variously incised, lobed, serrate, 1- or 2-pinnatifid or pinnatisect, lamina (1.5–)2–8(–12) cm long, (0.5–)1–4(–5) cm wide; upper leaves entire or shortly lobed or serrate, smaller than lower leaves, narrow-linear, base attenuate or cuneate, apex acute. Inflorescence a lax terminal panicle with long branches ending in a spike. Bracts shorter than or as long as calyx, with peduncle, bracts and calyx with or without glands. Calyx 5-toothed, 2–3.5(–4) mm long. Corolla light blue, purple, bluish-purple, mauve, pale pink to lilac, violet or lavender, to 2 times as long as calyx; tube 3–4(–5) mm long. Mericarps 1.5–3.5 mm long.

CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, HNF, HSF, MonT, MuF, MuM, OtP, RobP, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, Wim, *MSB, *NIS, *Strz.

Michael (1997a) recognised Verbena officinalis var. africana and Verbena officinalis var. gaudichaudii at the rank of species, however, these taxa and other taxa are here included within Verbena officinalis at the rank of variety because they differ chiefly in the size of the spikes and flower parts and the dentation of their leaves, which are features that display intermediates between the taxa (Munir 2002).

Verbena officinalis is represented in Victoria by five varieties, two of which are most likely native and three introduced.

Source: Conn, B.J. (1999). Verbenaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-07-31

Michael, P.W. (1997). Notes on Verbena officinalis sensu stricto and V. macrostachya (Verbenaceae) with new combinations in two closely related taxa, Telopea 7(3): 293-297.

Munir, A.A. (2002). A taxonomic revision of the genus Verbena L. (Verbenaceae) in Australia, Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 20: 21-103.

Hero image
Distribution map


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Verbena officinalis in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Verbena officinalis in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present introduced
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Strzelecki Ranges present introduced
Monaro Tablelands present native
Victorian Alps present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory