This Great White Cabbage Butterfly fancied these beautiful,
purple Woolly Verbena on Wilson’s Grove near my home in
northeast Iowa. USA
Height: 1-5 feet
Family: Verbenaceae – Vervain Family
Flowering Period: June, July, August, September
Also Called: Hoary vervain
Stems: Erect, stout, 1 to several, simple or branched above, very leafy, velvety hairy.
Leaves: Opposite, simple, mostly sessile, broadly ovate, elliptic, or lanceolate, 1 to 4 inches long, 1/2 to 2 inches wide, densely hairy, conspicuously veined underneath; margins prominently toothed.
Inflorescences: Spikes, narrow, erect, to 12 inches long, terminal.
Flowers: Overlapping; calyces 5-lobed, less than 1/4 inch long, densely hairy, tips sharply pointed; corollas blue to purple, 1/3 inch wide, lobes 5, pubescent outside; stamens 4, in 2 groups.
Fruits: 4 nutlets, covered with tiny bumps, grayish brown, each 1-seeded.
Habitat: Dry soils of pastures, roadsides, disturbed areas, farmyards, and waste ground.
Uses: Plains Indians made a tea from the leaves and used it to treat stomachaches. Prairie chickens and small mammals eat the seeds.
Comments: Woolly verbena is very drought-resistant, with roots that can descend to 12 feet. Cattle will not consume it due to its bitter taste so it spreads in overgrazed pastures.