|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Verbenaceae (from the genus Verbena, the Latin name for any sacred herb; application obscure). Vervain Family. Herbs, shrubs, or trees: leaves opposite, rarely whorled or alternate, simple or compound: flowers bisexual, rarely regular, usually oblique or 2-lipped; calyx 4-5-, rarely 6-8-, toothed; corolla 4-5-lobed gamopetalous, hypogynous, lobes imbricated; stamens 4, didynamous, rarely 5 or 2, epipetalous, hypogynous; disk present; ovary superior, of 2, rarely of 4 or 5, carpels, 2-5-celled, but by false partitions 4—10-celled, entire or 2-4-lobed; ovule usually solitary in each cell; style 1; stigma usually 1: fruit a drupe or berry, often separating into drupelets.
Verbenaceae has 67 genera and about 750 species, mainly of tropical and subtropical distribution. Eleven species reach the northeastern United States. Lippia is the largest genus with 100 species; Clerodendron has 90 species, and Verbena 80 species. The family is closely related to the Labiatae and not clearly distinct from that family. The predominatingly terminal style, and not deeply lobed ovary are the only differentiating characters.
Many species have been used in medicine: Verbena hastata as bitters; species of Lippia as tonics; Aegiphila salutaris as a purge and remedy for snake-bites. Species of Clerodendron have very sweet-scented flowers. They are used as purges, diuretics, and for liver, stomach, and lung complaints. Lippia citriodora yields a fragrant substance used in flavoring cream, and other foods. Several species have been used as tea in America. Duranta Ellisia and species of Lantana have edible fruit. Verbena officinalis of Europe is a tonic, but more famous for its use in witchcraft. It was celebrated among the Romans and Druids of Gaul and used by them in religious ceremonies. The very valuable teakwood is obtained from Tectona grandis of farther India and the East Indies. The white mangrove trees of Brazil belong to various species of the tribe Avicenniae.
A score of genera are in cultivation in North America. Among these are: Amsonia, a greenhouse shrub; Callicarpa, greenhouse or hardy shrubs; Caryopteris, a shrub, not hardy; Clerodendron (Turk's Turban), greenhouse or hardy; Duranta (Golden Dewdrop), cultivated in the South; Lantana, greenhouse or bedding herbs or shrubs; Lippia (Lemon Verbena), greenhouse or hardy shrubs or herbs; Petraea (Purple Wreath), greenhouse climber; Verbena, bedding or greenhouse herbs; Vitex (Chaste Tree, Hemp Tree, Monk's Pepper Tree), semi-hardy shrubs or trees.CH
Economically important genera includewp:
- Beautyberry Callicarpa species, cultivated in gardens
- Lemon verbena Aloysia triphylla, grown for aroma or flavoring
- Teak Tectona species, grown for lumber
- Verbena or Vervain Verbena species, with medicinal uses
About 90, includingwp:
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963