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verbena, common name for some members of the Verbenaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and trees (often climbing forms) of warmer regions of the world. Well-known wild and cultivated members of the family include species of the shrubby Lantana and of Verbena; many species of both are native to the United States. Many cultivated verbenas (herbs or shrubs) have fragrant blossoms and leaves that are sometimes used as condiments or for distillation of oils or for tea, as are those of the similar lemon verbena (Lippia citriodora) of tropical America and Africa. Wild American species are more frequently called vervains. The European vervain (V. officinalis), now naturalized in the United States, was sacred to the Greeks, Romans, and Druids and is associated in Christian tradition with the Crucifixion. In the Doctrine of Signatures, its bright flowers were seen as an indication that the plant could cure eye problems. Plants of the genus Avicennia are a characteristic constituent of tropical mangrove vegetation. Economically, the most important member of the family is teak. The family is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Lamiales.
plants of the genus Verbena, family Verbenaceae. They are annual and perennial grasses and sub-shrubs. There are more than 200 species, found mainly in the tropics and subtropics of America. In the USSR there are two wild and two imported species. European vervain (V. officinalis), a perennial grass 30 to 100 cm tall, with small bluish-lilac flowers in long thin wheel-shaped inflorescences, is often found in the Caucasus, Middle Asia, and in the European USSR, mostly in the southern half. Earlier, the plant was used in medicine to stimulate the appetite. The roots of European vervain are used to marinate cucumbers in order to give them a special aroma. Many hybrid forms and varieties of verbena of South American origin are widely used in decorative horticulture, most often as long-blooming annuals of various colors.
(Verbenaceae), a family of dicotyledonous plants consisting of grasses, shrubs, lianas, and trees. The leaves are mostly opposed and lack stipules, and the flowers are usually bisexual and grouped in inflorescences. The calyx and corolla are usually pentapartate. The corolla of most verbenas is irregular and often two-lipped, and there are usually four stamens. The fruit is stonelike or comes from nutlike pericarps or boxes. There are about 100 genera and more than 2,600 species, most of them growing in the tropics and subtropics. In the USSR there are four genera and seven species including imports, and they are distributed mostly in the south. The teak tree, related to verbena, provides a valuable wood, and the South American lippia, or lemon verbena (Lippia citriodora), a volatile oil. Many varieties of verbena (verbena, Clerodendron, lantana, Verbenaceae chamae-dryfolia, and others) are planted as decorative plants.