Flowers, fruit and (right) leaves of a Lantana cultivar
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Verbenaceae
Synonyms [1]
  • Durantaceae J.Agardh
  • Petreaceae J.Agardh

The Verbenaceae /vɜːrbˈns/ are a family, commonly known as the verbena family or vervain family, of mainly tropical flowering plants. It contains trees, shrubs, and herbs notable for heads, spikes, or clusters of small flowers, many of which have an aromatic smell.[2]

Recent phylogenetic studies[3] have shown that numerous genera traditionally classified in Verbenaceae belong instead in Lamiaceae. The new narrowly circumscribed Verbenaceae family includes some 35 genera and 1,200 species.[4][5] The mangrove genus Avicennia, sometimes placed in the Verbenaceae[6] or in its own family, Avicenniaceae,[7] has been placed in the Acanthaceae.[4]

Economically important Verbenaceae include:


Golden dew drops (Duranta erecta)
Frog fruit (Phyla nodiflora)

The genera in the new narrowly circumscribed family:[8]

  • Acantholippia Griseb.
  • Aloysia Palau beebrushes
  • Baillonia Bocq.
  • Bouchea Cham.
  • Burroughsia
  • Casselia Nees & Mart.
  • Chascanum E.Mey
  • Citharexylum L. fiddlewoods
  • Coelocarpum Balf.f.
  • Diostea Miers
  • Dipyrena Hook.
  • Duranta L.
  • Glandularia J.F.Gmel.
  • Hierobotana Briq.
  • Junellia Moldenke
  • Lampayo F.Phil. ex Murillo
  • Lantana L. shrub verbenas, lantanas
  • Lippia L.
  • Mulguraea N.O’Leary & P.Peralta
  • Nashia Millsp.
  • Neosparton Griseb.
  • Parodianthus Tronc.
  • Petrea L. sandpaper vines
  • Phyla Lour. fogfruits
  • Pitraea Turcz.
  • Priva Adans.
  • Recordia Moldenke
  • Rehdera Moldenke
  • Rhaphithamnus Miers
  • Stachytarpheta Vahl
  • Stylodon Raf.
  • Tamonea Aubl.
  • Ubochea
  • Urbania
  • Verbena L. verbenas/vervains
  • Verbenoxylum Tronc.
  • Xeroaloysia Tronc.
  • Xolocotzia Miranda

Excluded genera

Various genera formerly included in the family Verbenaceae are now treated under other families:[9]

Moved to Acanthaceae
Moved to Lamiaceae
Moved to Oleaceae
Moved to Orobanchaceae
  • Asepalum Marais
  • Cyclocheilon Oliv.
  • Nesogenes A.DC.
Moved to Phrymaceae
Moved to Stilbaceae


  1. 1 2 "Family: Verbenaceae J. St.-Hil., nom. cons.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  2. Stevens, P. F. (July 12, 2012). "Verbenaceae". Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  3. Cantino, P.D., Harley, R.M. & Wagstaff, S.J. 1992. Genera of Labiatae: status and classification. Pp. 511-522. In Harley, R.M. & Reynolds, T. (eds) Advances in Labiate Science. Richmond, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  4. 1 2 "Angiosperm Phylogeny Website - Lamiales". Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  5. Heywood, V.H., Brummitt, R.K., Culham, A. & Seberg, O. 2007: Flowering Plant Families of the World. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  6. Grandtner, Miroslav M. (2005). Elsevier's Dictionary of Trees: With Names in Latin, English, French, Spanish and Other Languages. 1. Elsevier. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-444-51784-5.
  7. Nelson, Gil (1994). The Trees of Florida: a Reference and Field Guide. Pineapple Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-56164-055-3.
  8. "GRIN Genera of Verbenaceae". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  9. "GRIN genera sometimes placed in Verbenaceae". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
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