• WordNet 3.6
    • n vervain any of numerous tropical or subtropical American plants of the genus Verbena grown for their showy spikes of variously colored flowers
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Vervain (Bot) Any plant of the genus Verbena.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n vervain One of several weedy plants of the genus Verbena, primarily V. officinalis, widely dispersed in warm and temperate regions in both hemispheres. It is a plant a foot or two high, with spreading wiry branches, and very small flowers in slender racemes. It had sacred associations with the Druids, as indeed among the Romans; it has been worn as an amulet, held to be serviceable to witches and against them, used in love-philters, and credited with virtue against a variety of diseases. In Christian times it became associated with the cross, whence much of its repute. It is also called Juno's-tears, holy-herb, herb-of-grace or herb of the cross, and pigeon's-yrass. (See pigeon's-grass.) The plant has a bitterish and astringent taste, and perhaps some slight febrifugal and other virtue, but is replaced by better remedies. In America several other verbenas receive the name, as V. hastata, the blue vervain, a tallish sleuder plant with small blue flowers, V. stricta, the hoary vervain, a hairy plant with larger purple flowers, and V. urticæfolia, the white or nettle-leafed vervain, with small white flowers.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Vervain ver′vān a plant of the genus Verbena—credited with efficacy in love-philtres, good against witches, &c.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. verveine, F. verveine, fr. L. verbena, pl. verbenae, sacred boughs of laurel, olive, or myrtle, a class of plants; cf. verbenaca, vervain. Cf. Verbena
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. verveine—L. verbēna.


In literature:

On the whole, he knew no one better fitted to deal with the unexpected than Mrs. Vervain.
"The Descent of Man and Other Stories" by Edith Wharton
Large specimens of helix were frequent on the Vervain Plains, but they were only dead shells.
"Journal of an Overland Expedition in Australia" by Ludwig Leichhardt
Two of the most frequently used ingredients in witches cauldrons were the vervain and the rue.
"Wild Flowers Worth Knowing" by Neltje Blanchan
Let her boil burnet, mugwort, feverfew and vervain in all her broths.
"The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher" by Anonymous
These, apron-girt and crowned with vervain, bring Fire for the turf-piled hearths, and water from the spring.
"The Aeneid of Virgil" by Virgil
Fusius pater patratus, touching his head and hair with the vervain.
"The History of Rome, Books 01 to 08" by Titus Livius
Pliny writes that the Druids exhibited the herb vervain in the exercise of their rites.
"The Mysteries of All Nations" by James Grant
The best songster of the tribe is the Vervain humming-bird, found in the West India Islands.
"The Western World" by W.H.G. Kingston
The person who held it was arrayed in linen only; a circle was shaved round his head, and in his hand he held a branch of vervain.
"Rambles of an Archaeologist Among Old Books and in Old Places" by Frederick William Fairholt
Chief among such plants were rue and vervain.
"Storyology" by Benjamin Taylor
Vervain is a beautiful weed, especially the blue or purple variety.
"A Year in the Fields" by John Burroughs
He held in his hand a nosegay of vervain.
"The Gold Sickle" by Eugène Sue
Vervain, divination by, 318.
"Folk-lore of Shakespeare" by Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer
Verbena angustifolia, Narrow-leaved vervain.
"Seeds of Michigan Weeds" by W. J. (William James) Beal
I cannot be mistaken in the scent of vervain, which you love.
"Garrick's Pupil" by Auguston Filon
The herb vervain was formerly held of great efficacy against witchcraft, and in various diseases.
"Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales" by James Orchard Halliwell
The vervain and other plants had also their distinct ceremonial.
"The Student's Mythology" by Catherine Ann White
However, it is somewhat doubtful whether the vervain of the ancients was similar to the plant which now bears that name.
"Curiosities of Medical Experience" by J. G. (John Gideon) Millingen
Common Vervain rivals the Mistletoe in its occult usages.
"A Garden with House Attached" by Sarah Warner Brooks
It was clearly proved also that the plants chiefly used by the sorceresses were rue and vervain.
"Demonology and Devil-lore" by Moncure Daniel Conway

In poetry:

Here, boys, bring turf and vervain too;
Have bowls of wine adjacent;
And ere our sacrifice is through
She may be more complaisant.
"To Glycera" by Roswell Martin Field
Here the grey seas have drunk an azure day:
The goblin-shaped miasmas of the night
And ghostly dragons of the mist take flight
Unzoned, along a vervain-flowered way
Behind the fervent footprints of the sun.
"Dedication / To Carol" by Clark Ashton Smith

In news:

Trista Backlund and other Prairie Restorations, Inc employees harvest Hoary Vervain in Princeton, Minn. Prairie Restorations, Inc specializes in the designing, restoring and managing of native plant communities.