As Craig recognized, our mystery seeds last week were from a plant known as purpletop vervain, Verbena bonariensis.

Verbenas are common landscape plants in Arizona because they are heat and drought tolerant and give long-lasting blooms.

purpletop-vervain-1Purpletop vervain plants have clusters of small, brilliant purple flowers like other verbenas.

purpletop-verbain-33They have long stems, however, and a much more upright growth form. Another common name that fits is “verbena on a stick.” They easily reach 4 feet tall or even more.

purpletop-verbain-anotherTypically they are grown as annuals or short-lived perennials.

purpletop-verbain-44Purpletop verbain is sometimes misidentified as Brazilian verbena, Verbena brasiliensis. The flowers of the Brazilian verbena are quite different from the purpletop.

The flowers are so lovely on this plant. The photographs don’t do them justice. We are glad the birds decided to “plant” it.

Have you ever had an interesting plant like this one show up in your yard? What was it?