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Korean J. Pl. Taxon > Volume 52(3); 2022 > Article
KIM, SHIM, CHO, KIM, HYUN, and PARK: New record of an alien plant, Verbena bracteata (Verbenaceae) in Korea


Verbena bracteata Cav. ex Lag. & Rodr. (Verbenaceae), native to North America and an alien plant in China and Japan, was newly found in central and southern areas of Korea. This species can be distinguished from other Verbena taxa in Korea by having larger floral bracts and stems that are prostrate or procumbent to decumbent-ascending. Verbena bracteata grows in dry and sunny grasslands or along roadsides. A precise description, illustration, photographs, and a key to related taxa are provided.


Verbenaceae J. St.-Hil., including approximately 800 species in about 32 genera (Cardoso et al., 2021), is mainly distributed in tropical and subtropical regions, particularly in southeast Asia, Central and South America, and the West Indies, with few species occurring in the temperate zones (Sanders, 2001; Marx et al., 2010; Olmstead, 2013; Frost et al., 2017). There are approximately nine species of Verbenaceae belonging to five genera in Korea (Im, 2018; Kim, 2018).
Verbena L. was originally described by Linnaeus (1753) with 14 species. Since then, several authors have worked on Verbena, and today this genus is represented by ca. 57 to 70 species, which are mainly spread in tropical and subtropical countries of America, some of them growing in Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe (Perry, 1933; Munir, 2002; O’Leary, 2006; Nesom, 2010a, 2010b, O'Leary et al., 2010; Cardoso et al., 2021; Tunçkol, 2022). The plants are annual and perennial herbs or subshrubs (Marx et al., 2010). Many Verbena species possess medicinal uses, and some species are of economic importance (Perry, 1933; Kubica et al., 2020). Recently, morphological data have suggested the infrageneric classification of the genus Verbena with three sections: Verbena, Amphepeiros Nesom, and Verbenaca Walpers (Nesom, 2010a). The three sections are recognized within Verbena, primarily based on inflorescence structure (Nesom, 2010a). In Korea, three species in the genus Verbena are reported; V. officinalis L., V. bonariensis L., and V. brasiliensis Vell. (Kim et al., 2018). Among then, V. officinalis is the only native species in Korea (Lee, 1980; Lee, 1996; Im, 2018; Kim, 2018), and the other two species are alien species (Park, 1998; Kil et al., 2001; Kang et al., 2020).
During a plant diversity field survey in Korean Peninsula, an unrecorded alien plant, Verbena bracteata Cav. ex Lag. & Rodr. was found in abandoned fields and roadsides in Gyeonggi-do and Gyeongsangnam-do, Korea. Verbena bracteata belongs to sect. Verbena. The sect. Verbena comprises ca. 46 species that are mainly distributed in the New World (Nesom, 2010a). We here formally report the first occurrence of the Verbena bracteata in Korea (Figs. 13). The Korean name is ‘Gin-po-ma-pyeon-cho’, based on floral bracts much longer than the calyx. We provide a description, illustrations, a taxonomic key to related taxa as well as habitat details.


Verbena bracteata Cav. ex Lag. & Rodr., Anales Ci. Nat. 4: 260, 1801.—TYPE: cult. in SPAIN. without date and collector (holotype: MA, photo!).
Verbena bracteosa Michx., Fl. Bor.-Amer 2: 13, 1803; Zappania bracteosa (Michx.) Poir., in Lamarck, Encycl. 8: 843, 1808.—TYPE: USA. Tennessee, without date, Michaux s.n. (isotype: P, photo!).
Verbena bracteosa var. brevibracteata A. Gray, Sin. Fl. N. Amer. 2: 336, 1878.—TYPE: USA. Texas, 1849, Wright 454 (lectotype: GH, photo!).
Verbena rudis Greene, Pittonia 4: 152, 1899.—TYPE: USA. Colorado, 18 Jun 1899, Baker 564 (holotype: G, photo!).
Verbena bracteosa var. albiflora Cockerell, in F. P. Daniels, Fl. Boulder 204, 1911.
Verbena imbricata Wooton & Standl., Contr. U. S. Natl. Herb. 16: 166, 1913.—TYPE: USA. New Mexico, 8 Aug 1904, Wooton 2831 (holotype: US; isotype: US, photo!).
Korean name: Gin-po-ma-pyeon-cho (긴포마편초).
Herbs, annual or biennial, 10−30 cm tall. Stems several, prostrate or procumbent to decumbent-ascending, rarely erect, diffusely branched, quadrangular, coarsely hirsute. Leaves opposite, thick membranaceous; petiole 0.3−1.5 cm long, winged or widely margined, hirsute, upper leaves subsessile; blade lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate or oblanceolate, 1−5 cm long, pinnately incised or usually 3-lobed, lateral lobes narrow or divaricate, middle lobes cuneate-obovate, incisely toothed or cleft, narrowed into a short margined petiole, hirsute on both surfaces. Inflorescences terminal, usually solitary, spikes, slender, 2–20 cm long, bracts linear-lanceolate, acuteacuminate, entire; 8−15 mm long, 2–4 times as long as the calyx, hirsute. Flowers zygomorphic; calyx 3–4 mm long, 5-lobed, hirsute; corolla pale blue to purplish-blue, narrowly funnelform to somewhat trumpet-shaped, 4–6 mm long, 5-lobed, glabrous, tube relatively slender, limb 2–3 mm in diam.; stamens 4, didynamous; filaments short, anthers yellow, 0.2 mm long; pistil 1, ovary superior, 2 carpels, 4-lobed; style short. Fruit schizocarps, oblong, 2–2.5 mm long.
Flowering: June to August.
Fruiting: August to October.
Distribution and habitat: Verbena bracteata is native to North America, whereas this species is non-native in China, Japan, and Korea (Shimizu, 2003; Mito and Uesugi, 2004; Wang et al., 2005). Two populations, each containing ca. 300 to 1,000 individuals, are found in open habitats, dry and sunny grasslands, or roadsides on lowlands. It grows together with herbaceous plants such as Humulus japonicas Siebold & Zucc., Phytolacca americana L., Portulaca oleracea L., Persicaria lapathifolia (L.) Delarbre, Polygonum aviculare L., Lepidium densiflorum Schrad., Potentilla supina L., Oenothera biennis L., Euphorbia hypericifolia L., Euphorbia maculata L., Oxalis dillenii Jacq., Metaplexis japonica (Thunb.) Makino, Ipomoea lacunosa L., Plantago lanceolata L., Veronica arvensis L., Artemisia indica Willd., Aster pilosus Willd., Bidens frondosa L., Bidens pilosa L., Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronquist, Conyza sumatrensis (Retz.) E. Walker, Erigeron annuus (L.) Pers., Lactuca indica L., Lactuca scariola L., Sonchus asper (L.) Hill, Tragopogon dubius Scop., Commelina communis L., Digitaria ciliaris (Retz.) Koeler, Elymus ciliaris (Trin.) Tzvelev, Eragrostis minor Host, Festuca arundinacea Schreb., Poa annua L., and Setaria viridis (L.) P. Beauv.
Specimens examined: KOREA. Gyeonggi-do: Incheon-si, Bupyeong-gu, San-gok-dong, 3 Aug 2021, Jung-Hyun Kim KIMJH21108, KIMJH21109, KIMJH21110, KIMJH21111, KIMJH21112 (KB), Jin Hee Park, Jung-Hyun Kim & Kyu Tae Cho Park et al. 20210803-1-1 (NNIBRVP99285), Park et al. 20210803-1-2 (NNIBRVP99286), Park et al. 20210803-1-3 (NNIBRVP99287), Park et al. 20210803-1-4 (NNIBRVP99288), Park et al. 20210803-1-5 (NNIBRVP99289), Park et al. 20210803-2-1 (NNIBRVP99290), Park et al. 20210803-2-2 (NNIBRVP99291), Park et al. 20210803-2-3 (NNIBRVP99292), Park et al. 20210803-2-4 (NNIBRVP99293), Park et al. 20210803-2-5 (NNIBRVP99294), Park et al. 20210803-2-6 (NNIBRVP99295), Park et al. 20210803-2-7 (NNIBRVP99296), Park et al. 20210803-2-8 (NNIBRVP99297), Park et al. 20210803-2-9 (NNIBRVP99298), Park et al. 20210803-2-10 (NNIBRVP99299), Park et al. 20210803-2-11(NNIBRVP99300), Park et al. 20210803-2-12 (NNIBRVP99301), Park et al. 20210803-2-13 (NNIBRVP99302), Park et al. 20210803-2-14 (NNIBRVP99303), Park et al. 20210803-2-15 (NNIBRVP99304), Park et al. 20210803-3-1 (NNIBRVP99305), Park et al. 20210803-3-2 (NNIBRVP99306), Park et al. 20210803-3-3 (NNIBRVP99307), Park et al. 20210803-3-4 (NNIBRVP99308), Park et al. 20210803-3-5 (NNIBRVP99309) (NNH); same locality, 5 Oct 2021, Jin Hee Park & Kyu Tae Cho Park JH & Cho KT 20211005-1-1 (NNIBRVP99310), Park JH & Cho KT 20211005-1-2 (NNIBRVP99311), Park JH & Cho KT 20211005- 1-3 (NNIBRVP99312), Park JH & Cho KT 20211005-2-1 (NNIBRVP99313), Park JH & Cho KT 20211005-2-2 (NNIBRVP99314), Park JH & Cho KT 20211005-2-3 (NNIBRVP99315), Park JH & Cho KT 20211005-3-1 (NNIBRVP99316), Park JH & Cho KT 20211005-3-2 (NNIBRVP99317), Park JH & Cho KT 20211005-4-1 (NNIBRVP99318), Park JH & Cho KT 20211005-4-2 (NNIBRVP99319) (NNH). Gyeongsangnam-do: Tongyeong-si, Dosan-myeon, Doseon-ri, 10 Aug 2019, Hyun Sik Kim & Sang Deog Shim KIMJH19233, KIMJH19234 (KB); same locality, 17 Jun 2021, Jung-Hyun Kim & Seog woo Kwon KIMJH21102, KIMJH21103, KIMJH21104, KIMJH21105, KIMJH21106, KIMJH21107 (KB); same locality, 22 Jun 2022, Jung-Hyun Kim KIMJH22048, KIMJH22049, KIMJH22050 (KB).

A key to Verbena and related taxa in Korea

  • 1. Stem prostrate or procumbent to decumbent-ascending; bracts much longer than the calyx ································· ················································· V. bracteata 긴포마편초

  • 1. Stem erect; bracts shorter than or about equaling to calyx.

    • 2. Spikes lax; leaves irregularly pinnatifid ···················· ···················································· V. officinalis 마편초

    • 2. Spikes dense; leaves serrate-dentate.

      • 3. Leaves broad linear or linear spatulate ················ ···································· V. bonariensis 버들마편초

      • 3. Leaves ellipse or linear ellipse ····························· ································ V. brasiliensis 브라질마편초


This work was supported by a grants from the National Institute of Biological Resources (NIBR) and Nakdonggang National Institute of Biological Resources (NNIBR), funded by the Ministry of Environment (MOE) of the Republic of Korea (NIBR202203102 and NNIBR202201102).


The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Fig. 1.
Photographs of Verbena bracteata Cav. ex Lag. & Rodr. A. Habitat. B. Habit. C. Root. D. Stem. E. Leaves (a, adaxial view; b, abaxial view). F. Spike. G. Flower. H. Schizocarp. I. Mericarps (abaxial and adaxial views).
Fig. 2.
Illustrations of Verbena bracteata Cav. ex Lag. & Rodr. A. Habit. B. Spike. C. Flower with calyx and bract. D. Schizocarp. E. Mericarps (a, abaxial view; b, adaxial view).
Fig. 3.
Distribution of Verbena bracteata Cav. ex Lag. & Rodr. in Korea.


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