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BLUE VERVAIN WILD HYSSOP SIMPLER'S JOY







(Verbena hastala) Vervain family Flowers - Very small, purplish blue, in numerous slender, erect, compact spikes. Calyx 5-toothed; corolla tubular, unequally 5-lobed; 2 pairs of stamens; 1 pistil. Stem: 3 to 7 ft. high, rough, branched above, leafy, 4-sided. Leaves: Opposite, stemmed, lance-shaped, saw-edged, rough; lower ones lobed at base. Preferred Habitat - Moist meadows, roadsides, waste places. Flowering Season - June-September. Distribution - United States and Canada in almost every part. Seeds below, a circle of insignificant purple-blue flowers in the center, and buds at the top of the vervain's slender spires do not produce a striking effect, yet this common plant certainly does not lack beauty. John Burroughs, ever ready to say a kindly, appreciative word for any weed, speaks of its drooping, knotted threads, that "make a pretty etching upon the winter snow." Bees, the vervain's benefactors, are usually seen clinging to the blooming spikes, and apparently sleep on them. Borrowing the name of simpler's joy from its European sister, the flower has also appropriated much of the tradition and folk-lore centered about that plant which herb-gatherers, or simplers, truly delighted to see, since none was once more salable. EUROPEAN VERVAIN (V. officinalis) HERB-OF-THE-CROSS, BERBINE,





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