Taxonomic name: Verbena rigida Spreng
Synonyms: Verbena bonariensis L. forma robustior Chodot, Verbena bonariensis L. forma venosa (Gillies & Hook.) Chodat, Verbena bonariensis L. forma venosa (Gillies & Hook.) Voss, Verbena bonariensis L. var. rigida (Spreng.) Kuntze, Verbena doniana Steud., Verbena rigida forma obovata Hayek, Verbena rigida Spreng. forma paraguayensis Moldenke, Verbena rigida Spreng. var. alba Moldenke , Verbena rigida Spreng. var. glandulosa Moldenke, Verbena rigida Spreng. var. lilacina (Harrow) Moldenke, Verbena rigida Spreng. var. reineckii (Briq.) Moldenke, Verbena rigida var. obovata, Verbena rugosa D.Don, Verbena scaberrima Cham., Verbena venosa Gillies & Hook
Common names: creeping verbena (English-New Zealand), handy garden verbena (English), jarvao (Spanish), large-veined verbena (English), lila vasfu (Hungarian), purple verbena (English), rigid verbena (English), sandpaper verbena (English), slank jernurt (Danish), slender vervain (English), sporýš tuhý (Czech), stiff verbena (English), tuberous vervain (English), urgebao (Spanish), veined verbena (English), verveine (French)
Organism type: herb
Verbena rigida is a perennial herb native to South America. It is popular for garden cultivation due to its conspicuous bright purple flowers that have an extended blooming period. However it has escaped cultivation in a number of countries around the world and has invaded native grasslands, crop fields and roadside areas.
agricultural areas, natural forests, planted forests, range/grasslands, ruderal/disturbed, scrub/shrublands, urban areas
Verbena rigida is capable of naturalizing in habitats that range from disturbed areas to natural forests. In Australia, V. rigida has invaded woodlands, riverbanks and grasslands (Hunter, 1999). In South Africa it is becoming a common roadside weed and has established in climax grasslands (B. van Wyk, pers. comm. in Sapia News, 2010). V. rigida is a popular ornamental species that can flourish in urban environments and is planted along roadsides and highway medians because of easy maintenance and colour (Diamond Jr., 1985).
It grows in full sunlight, is very heat tolerant and moderately tolerant to drought, preferring moist but well-drained soils. It can grow in acidic, alkaline and neutral soil pH and on most soil types including sand, loam and clay and chalk (Gilman, 1999; Shoot, Undated).
Verbena rigida has an extended blooming period which shows off its vibrant purple colour (Moore, 2006). It is often used for mass planting, ground cover and for flower arrangements (Gilman, 1999). It is heat and drought tolerant making it useful for xeriscaping (Canberra Institute of Technology, 2004). Like many plants, V. rigida can also be used for erosion control on banks and slopes (Moore, 2006). Its fragrant purple flowers are also used for attracting butterflies and bees (Gilman, 1999).
Native Range: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela
Known introduced range: Australia, Belgium, Bermuda, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Réunion, South Africa, Swaziland, United Kingdom, United States.
Verbena rigida needs full exposure to the sun, and can use reflected sunlight to fulfill this requirement. V. rigida is drought tolerant and requires low amounts of water for survival. It was found that the best landscape performance was with regular irrigation every few weeks (Moore, 2006). In order to see a positive growth rate for V. rigida the soil must be well-drained and the surrounding area must be free from competition and overcrowding to ensure air circulation (Russ, 2007).
The spread of Verbena rigida is facilitated by long white rhizomes that help to form dense colonies of the species by spreading out like underground stems in all directions (Russ, 2007). Seeds also play a major role in propagation of V. rigida but their dispersal methods are unclear (Davison, 1999).
Reviewed by: Expert review underway.
Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Friday, 7 May 2010