Montana Falls Park Wildflowers
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)

I had expected to see this flower in Fern Bluff Park by now, but thus far it has not made its 2001 debut there (it was present there about this time last year, however, and should pop up any day).

The Vervain Family (Verbenaceae) includes 91 genera and 1,900 species of herbs, shrubs, lianas and trees. Teak is one member of this family. Another is the Blue Vervain, shown here as it was found in Montana Falls Park on April 1, 2001. The species name hastata is derived from the Latin and means "halberd shaped". Halberds were used in the 15th and 16th centuries, and consisted of a shafted weapon with an axe-like cutting blade on one side, a pointed beak on the other, and an apical spike at its upper end. The flower-laden stem of this plant resembles that assemblage, with its pointed tip and the angled side flowers in various states of bloom. Thoreau wrote of this flower approvingly in 1852 and 1858. It has, he said, an "interesting progressive history in its rising ring of blossoms. It has a story." (Coffey, Wildflowers- 1993, p. 195).

Page 2: Milk Thistle ... Blue Flower Gallery

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