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Verbena Family

Aegiphila elata Sw., a liana in the Verbenaceae. Note the simple, opposite leaves with veins that loop at the margens. Plants in this family often have a strong vegetative odor. Un bejuco. Note las hojas simples y opuestas, con venas que se unen cerca de las márgenes. Plantas de esta familia frecuentemente tienen un olor fuerte.

Description: A large Neotropical family of herbs and woody plants, occasionally lianas. Verbenaceae have opposite leaves, simple or (in Vitex) palmately compound, and often with a strong vegetative odor and/or glands on the lamina. The stems are usually square.

Economic uses: Some species of Verbenaceae are used in flavorings. The shrubs Lantana and Stachytarpheta are commonly planted ornamentals that have naturalized in many tropical areas. Gmelina arborea, an introduced tree species, has been widely planted in Costa Rica.

Descripción: Una familia diversa en las zonas neotropicales. Incluye hierbas, plantas leñosas, y algunos bejucos. Las Verbenaceas tienen hojas opuestas, simples o (en Vitex) palmaticompuestas, y muchas veces con un olor fuerte y/o glándulas en la lámina. Los tallos usualmente son cuadrados.

Usos económicos: Algunas Verbenaceas son usadas como saborizantes. Los arbustos Lantana y Stachytarpheta son cultivados como ornamentales, y han establecido poblaciones silvestres en varias áreas tropicales. Gmelina arborea es un árbol maderable introducido que se usa frecuentemente en plantaciones en Costa Rica.

Genera/species at La Selva: 8/15: Shrubs/ arbustos: Aegiphila (some of the 5), Callicarpa (1), Clerodendrum (2), Lantana (2), Stachytarpheta (2) Lianas/ bejucos: Aegiphila (some of the 5), Petrea (1) Trees/ árboles: Gmelina (1), Vitex (1).

FIELD MARKSopposite, simple leaves, twigs square

A mass planting of Stachytarpheta in front of the La Selva dining hall is a favorite foraging ground for Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds and other nectar-feeders.
Stachytarpheta flowers.
Stachytarpheta with opposite leaves.
Tectona grandis is native to Asia and widely cultivated as a source of teak wood. Rubbing the young leaves will turn your fingers red. Note the opposite decussate leaves and square stems.
Vitex cooperi is the only member of the Verbenaceae with compound leaves. (Square stems distinguish it from Tabebuia in the Bignoniaceae. Vitex cooperi also has variable 3-5 leaflets, while the local Tabebuia species are always 5.)
Vitex cooperi with opposite compound leaves.

< < Previous family: Urticaceae
Next family: Vitaceae > >
How to Examine a PlantPlant Family ListKey to Plant FamiliesTop Ten ListsThe MatrixNavigation Bar.jpg