Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Carolina Vervain - Verbena carnea   Medikus
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Section 6 » Family Verbenaceae
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DistributionGenerally throughout the southwestern 40% of the Coastal Plain, including all of the Sandhills region. It ranges north to Wayne, Wake, and Montgomery counties.

This is a Southern Coastal Plain species, ranging north to NC (and possibly eastern VA), south to southern FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceDespite the species occurring in nearly all counties within its range in the state, it is generally uncommon to infrequent, being most numerous in the Sandhills (infrequent to locally fairly common), but quite uncommon in the more easterly part of the range.
HabitatThis is a classic Sandhill species, growing mostly in pine/scrub oak sandhills. It also grows in other sandy soil habitats, but usually not on roadsides but mainly in high-quality sites that are managed by fire.
PhenologyBlooms from April to July, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a medium to fairly tall herb, growing erect to ascending, mostly unbranched and to about 1.5-2' tall. The stem leaves are opposite, elliptic to oblanceolate, about 2.5" long and nearly 1" wide, with the margins toothed. The flowering spike at the end of the stem (or any side branches) is very long, often 8-12" long -- up to 1/2 the height of the plant. The numerous flowers are small and pink to light pink, with a slender corolla tube and 5 flaring lobes, barely 1/3" long. Normally only about 1-2" of the long spike is in bloom at any one time, but even so, the observer should be able to spot this plant in the field by its long and slender spike of pale pink flowers.
Taxonomic CommentsThe species is named as Stylodon carneum or S. carneus in some references.

Other Common Name(s)Carolina False Vervain. The use of the word "False" should be used when the species is included in the genus Stylodon. However, as it is listed by Weakley (2018) in Verbena, the "Vervain" genus, it is best to call it as Carolina Vervain for the common name, as do Sorrie (2011) and Weakley (2018).
State RankS3
Global RankG4?
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