Stachytarpheta urticifolia

Stachytarpheta urticifolia Sims

Common Names: Nettle Leaved Vervain, Nettle Leaf Velvet Berry

Family: Verbenaceae

Habit: Stachytarpheta urticifolia grows as an herbaceous shrub up to 1.5 m in height. The leaves are arranged oppositely and are up to 9 cm long. The leaves are ovate to elliptic in shape with a crenate/toothed leaf margin. The leaf veins are distinct. The stems and leaves are covered with small hairs and squarish in cross section.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are arranged in terminal spikes that are up to 50 cm long, usually shorter. The flowers open continuously for months with 2-3 new flowers appearing every few days. The calyx has 5 fused, green sepals.  The corolla has 5 fused, salverform, petals that are a purplish blue that can range from a dark to light coloration. There are 4 stamens fused to the corolla.  The ovary is superior with two locules. The fruit is a capsule.

Habitat: Stachytarpheta urticifolia grows in Human Altered environments (yards, gardens, abandoned areas).

Distribution: Stachytarpheta urticifolia is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago. It occurs in tropical and subtropical areas globally but it’s exact native range is currently uncertain.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage:   Stachytarpheta urticifolia is not known to be used medicinally in the Bahamas.

It is grown as an ornamental for its interesting leaves and attractive inflorescences.

It easily escapes cultivation and can be locally weedy or invasive.