Rose Verbena (Rose Vervain)

Glandularia canadensis (formerly Verbena canadensis)


Photo of rose verbena, or rose vervain, flower cluster showing leaves
At first glance, you might think rose verbena is a type of phlox, but the rough, lobed and toothed foliage will tell you a different story.

Verbenaceae (vervains)


Rose verbena is a low, spreading herbaceous perennial with hairy stems that take root where they touch the ground. The flowers are in rounded or flat-topped, terminal clusters, tubular, with 5 lobes. Rose verbena makes spectacular displays on dry, rocky hillsides. Color varies from true pink to magenta to rose-purple, probably depending on soil. Blooms March-November. Leaves are variable, opposite, on petioles, more or less 3-divided with toothed lobes, to 3 inches long.


Height: usually to about 1 foot.

Habitat and conservation

Rose verbena occurs on prairies, fields, pastures, dry hillsides, waste places, glades, borders of woods, and rights-of-way. Often cultivated, it does best in fairly sunny locations and tolerates dry to medium-moist conditions.

image of Rose Verbena Rose Vervain distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

Statewide, but especially in central and southern Missouri.


Long considered a member of the genus Verbena, this species is currently placed into the genus Glandularia based on a number of factors, including chromosome data that were unavailable to botanists in previous decades. Because it was so long known as Verbena canadensis, it still appears under that name in many guidebooks and manuals.

Human connections

This native plant is great for rock gardens, edging, and in containers, where it forms masses and spreads as a ground cover. Special cultivars, with variations of flower color and plant compactness, are available at garden stores. Please do not dig wildflowers from natural places.

Ecosystem connections

A number of bees, butterflies, and skippers drink nectar from the flowers, and the seeds may be consumed by mice and birds. Seeds that are carried away but not eaten might be dispersed this way. The plant, however, can still spread vegetatively by rooting where the stems touch the ground.