What is Verbena and How Do You Use It?

Lemon Scented Verbena

FR: Citronelle, Verveine, Verveine odorante

GER: Verbene, Zitronenstrauch

IT: Cedrina

SP: Vervena, Yerba de la princesa BOT: Verbena typhilla FAM: Verbenaceae ILL: Plate 9, No. 6

Verbena should not be confused with vervain, although they are both of the same family. Most of the Verbenaceae are tropical plants: lemon scented verbena is no exception and is native to South America. It was brought to Europe by the Spaniards and is cultivated to some extent as a source of oil for perfume, although cheaper sources of the oil such as lemon grass are more commonly used. Lemon verbena is easily grown from seeds or cuttings in any warm, sunny part of the garden. Although in hot countries it can grow up to four to five feet, in colder climates and more adverse circumstances the height will be much less. One or two plants will be sufficient in a family herb plot, or it can be grown in pots in a sunny window. Being strongly perfumed with lemon, it could substitute for lemon grass in recipes from South East Asia. It is also used as a source of an aromatic lemon flavour in sweet dishes, fruit salads, and soft drinks, but it must be used with care, because to many people it is reminiscent of scented soap.

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