Vascular – Exotic
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
North Island; South Island: widespread and common, rarer North of the Volcanic Plateau.
Roadsides, stony river banks, street gutters, and other waste and open disturbed places, sometimes open or depleted pastures, up to 900 m.
Annual or short-lived perennial; stems to 80 cm tall, square, often scabrid on angles. Most leaves variously pinnatifid or pinnatisect (basal ones often deeply toothed), mostly petiolate (uppermost often sessile), sometimes scabrid, with hairs little swollen at base; lamina 3-6 × 1-4 cm, ± rhombic or oblanceolate; lobes oblong or ovate; veins not impressed above; base ± attenuate; apex obtuse to acute. Infl. very loosely paniculate; spikes to c. 15 cm long at maximum flowering, elongating to 25 cm at fruiting, slender, puberulent; fls soon becoming distant. Bracts 1/2-⅔ length of calyx, lanceolate to ovate, somewhat keeled, acuminate, hairy. Calyx 2-3 mm long, hairy; teeth acute, green or mauvish. Corolla tube > calyx, somewhat hairy outside; limb 4-5 mm diam., mauve or lavender, drying a similar colour. Nutlets c. 2 mm long, oblong, reddish brown, strongly ribbed dorsally, finely white-papillate and flattened ventrally.
Most similar to V. littoralis but separated by the pinnatifid to pinnatisect leaves; usually densely glandular inflorescence axis, and spikes 10 - 35(-40) cm long, not contracted.
Europe, N. Africa, W. Asia
officinalis: From the Latin officina shortened from opificina which originally meant ‘workshop’ but later came to mean a monastic storeroom, herb-room or pharmacy. Refers to the plant’s real or perceived medicinal value.
Fact sheet prepared by Marley Ford (5 March 2022). Brief description and Distribution sections are copied from Webb et al. (1988).
References and further reading
Webb C.J., Sykes W.R., & Garnock-Jones P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand Volume 4. DSIR, Botany Division.