Flowers in wand-like, slender,  2-8 in. long spikes with small lavender flowers; calyx hairy, 5-ribbed, 5-toothed, 3/32 in. long; corolla mostly purple, 2-lipped, 5-lobed, about 3/32 in. long.  There are 4 stamens in 2 pairs; ovary 4-celled. San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Irvine, CA. 5-02-10. © Joan Avise.

Western Verbena
(Western Vervain, Common Vervain)

Verbena lasiostachys var. lasiostachys

A 1-3 ft. branching, sprawling perennial, common along seasonal streams and other moist places but can also grow on dry soil in many plant communities. In Orange County it is found in Chino Hills, the eastern foothills and Santa Ana Mountains (Roberts) as well as moist areas near the coast (Upper Newport Bay, UCI freshwater marsh, San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park). Fruit with 4 nutlets. Medicinal uses. Flowering: April- October.

Note:   There is a similar plant, V. lasiostachys var. scabrida which is uncommon on bluffs and in grassy openings of coastal sage scrub and oak woodland in Crystal Cove State Park, Cristianitos Canyon, and upper Santiago Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains (Roberts). An examination of the nutlets is necessary for differentiation.  It is possible that some of these photos might be of this second species. 

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UCI Freshwater Marsh, Irvine, CA. 5-10-08. © Joan Avise.

The 4-6 in. opposite leaves are incised and coarsely saw-toothed with short grayish hairs on both surfaces. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Laguna Beach, CA. 6-13-09. © Joan Avise.

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Irvine, CA. 5-02-10. © Joan Avise

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Irvine, CA. 5-02-10. © Joan Avise

Stems with long, soft, shaggy hairs.  San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Irvine, CA. 5-02-10. © Joan Avise

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Irvine, CA.5-7-06. © Joan Avise.

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Irvine, CA.5-7-06. © Joan Avise.

Fasciated. J. Dilley Psrv., Canyon-Edison-Mariposa-Lake Trails, 5-30-13. © Ron Vanderhoff.