I have always known this plant as ‘wild verbena’ for it grows all over the country and bears a close resemblance to the far more lush and beautiful verbena seeds people purchase for their gardens.

This tough plant flowers next to roads, in the veld, and in disturbed soil.

It is so ubiquitous that I have been puzzled why it is not represented in the various guides I have to wild flowers in South Africa. The answer lay in my trusty Common Weeds in South Africa by Mayda Henderson and Johan G. Anderson published in 1966: this fine-leaved verbena originated in South America (as so many of our alien plants do) and was probably brought in as a garden plant. The names Verbena aristigera and Verbena tenuisecta appear to be synonymous. They are such pretty flowers that I am pleased to read that they do not, as yet, present a serious weed problem.

Note: Click on the photographs if you want a larger view.


    • We also have a lovely array of wild flower that bloom next to our roads – gazanias spring to mind: swathes of beautiful yellow flowers that provide a spectacular show that is very difficult to emulate in a garden.

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