The Verbenaceae are herbs, shrubs, or trees comprising about 100 genera and 2,600 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. The calyx is synsepalous and most commonly 5-merous. The corolla is sympetalous, usually unequally 5-lobed, and sometimes strongly 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, a single terminal or subterminal style, and an unlobed or shallowly lobed ovary, usually with 4 locules (by false septation), each with a single axile ovule. A weakly developed annular nectary disk occurs around the base of the ovary in many species. The fruit is usually a drupe or 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.
Clerodendrum magnificum
Clerodendrum myricoides, blue glorybower. Notice the strongly zygomorphic flower with didynamous stamens and a filamentous style with two stigma lobes.
Clerodendrum quadriloculare. The flowers of this species have a very long corolla tube. (Formerly Verbenaceae)
Clerodendrum thomsonae, bleeding heart.  An ornamental shrub from tropical West Africa cultivated for its attractive flowers.
Clerodendrum sp., OSU campus, Corvallis, OR, July, 2003.
Duranta repens, golden dew drop. The flowers in this species are only weakly zygomorphic. Opposite leaves are apparent.
Gmelina philippensis
Holmskioldia sanguinea, cup and saucer. The rotate calyx constitutes the saucer referred to in the common name while the corolla comprises the cup. Notice the two-lipped and strongly zygomorphic nature of the corolla.
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.
Tectona grandis, Verbenaceae, teak. Timber tree from India to Java. The wood is valued for heavy construction as well as fine furniture. Powdered wood is also used medicinally; young leaves and root bark yield a yellowish-brown dye. UH Manoa Campus, Honolulu, HI, 2005.
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.
Vitex rotundifolia, beach vitex. This Hawaiian native species exhibits zygomorphic flowers, didynamous stamens, bilobed stigma and terminal style characteristic of the family.

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