The Verbenaceae are herbs, lianas, shrubs, or trees comprising about 36 genera and 1,035 species that are further characterized by the common occurrence of quadrangular twigs and/or aromatic herbage. The leaves are nearly always opposite or whorled, mostly simple; stipules are lacking. The flowers are nearly always bisexual and zygomorphic, forming racemes, spikes, or heads. The calyx is synsepalous and most commonly 5-merous. The corolla is sympetalous, usually unequally 5-lobed, and often weakly 2-lipped. The androecium most commonly consists of 4 didynamous stamens adnate to the corolla tube or perigynous zone, alternate with the lobes. The gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil of nearly always 2 carpels and an unlobed or shallowly lobed ovary, usually with 4 locules (by false septation), each with a single axile ovule.  The style is terminal and uncleft, bearing a conspicuous, usually bilobed stigma.  A weakly developed annular nectary disk occurs around the base of the ovary in many species. The fruit is usually a drupe with 2 or 4 pits or a schizocarp splitting into 2 or 4 nutlets.

Each "thumbnail" image below is linked to a larger photograph.

Citharexylum spinosum, fiddlewood. Tree from the West Indies with light wood good for little except firewood.
Duranta repens, golden dew drop. The flowers in this species are only weakly zygomorphic. Opposite leaves are apparent.
Lantana camara. The flowers of this species are only moderately zygomorphic. The herbage is strongly aromatic.
Petrea volubilis, sandpaper vine. The common name refers to the scratchy texture of the leaves. The petaloid lavender calyx persists after the darker purple corolla falls away.
Stachytarpheta urticifolia, Kaneohe, HI, December, 2004.
Verbena bonariensis, purpletop verbena, Brazilian verbena, OSU campus, Corvallis, OR, July 2003.
Verbena gooddingii, Goodding's verbena, scented or fragrant verbena, vic. Saguaro Natl. Park, AZ, Mar. 2004.
Verbena litoralis, seashore vervain.

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