The Verbenaceae or Verbena family has been considered to be closely related to the Lamiaceae (Labiatae or mint family), and the border between the two families has long been unclear but characters tying these two families together are apparently convergent. Recent phylogenetic studies have shown several genera to be misplaced in Verbenaceae and these genera are being moved out of Verbenaceae into Lamiaceae. Avicennia, sometimes placed in Verbenaceae or in its own family, Avicenniaceae, has been placed in Acanthaceae. Meanwhile core Verbenaceae have proven to be more closely related to other members of the Lamiales s.l. than to Lamiaceae.

In its wider circumscription, Verbenaceae is a family of mainly tropical plants notable for heads, spikes, or clusters of small flowers. The family includes about 90 genera and nearly 2,000 species of trees, shrubs and herbs.

Economically important genera include:

  • Beautyberry Callicarpa species, cultivated in gardens
  • Lemon verbena Aloysia triphylla, grown for aroma or flavoring Teak
  • Tectona species, grown for lumber
  • Verbena or Vervain Verbena species, with medicinal uses


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