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Aloysia triphylla - Palau

Common Name Lemon Verbena, Lemon beebrush
Family Verbenaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards The essential oil from the plant might sensitise the skin to sunlight[238]. Large doses of the tea can cause gastric irritation [301].
Habitats Fields and roadsides[238]. Open scrub[260].
Range S. America - Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay. Locally naturalized in the Mediterranean[50].
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Aloysia triphylla Lemon Verbena, Lemon beebrush

(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Aloysia triphylla Lemon Verbena, Lemon beebrush


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UPDATE 20/09/2011: Aloysia triphylla (L'Hér.) Britton is a synonym of Aloysia citriodora Palau

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Aloysia triphylla is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in leaf from May to November, in flower in August, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Aloysia triphylla (L'Hér.)Britton. A. triphylla. Lippia citrodora. L. triphylla. Verbena triphylla.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses: Condiment  Tea

Leaves - occasionally cooked as a spinach[177] but more commonly used as a flavouring in salads, fruit salads etc[14, 21, 104, 183]. A delicious lemon-like flavour, it is adored by most people who try it[K]. A delicious and refreshing tea is made from the leaves[14, 21, 103, 183]. The dried leaves will retain their lemon aroma for many years[4].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antispasmodic  Aromatherapy  Febrifuge  Sedative  Stomachic

An undervalued medicinal herb, lemon verbena contains a strong lemon-scented essential oil that has calming and digestive qualities[254]. The plant has a gentle sedative action and a reputation for soothing abdominal discomfort. It has a mildly tonic effect upon the nervous system and helps to lift the spirits and counter depression[254]. The leaves and the flowering tops are antispasmodic, febrifuge, sedative and stomachic[4, 7, 238, 240]. A tea made from the leaves has a deliciously refreshing lemon flavour and is used mainly in treating digestive disorders[4] such as flatulence, indigestion and acidity[244]. Some caution is advisable though, since prolonged use or large internal doses can cause gastric irritation[268]. The herb is also useful as a stimulant for treating lethargy or depression[244] whilst it is also used to treat feverish colds[238]. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy in the treatment of nervous and digestive problems and also for acne, boils and cysts[238].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Essential  Insecticide  Pot-pourri  Repellent

An essential oil obtained from the leaves is extensively used in perfumery[7, 61]. An average yield of 0.5% is obtained[7]. There is some evidence that the use of this oil can sensitise the skin to sunlight and so its use has been largely replaced by the tropical plant lemongrass, Cymbopogon spp.[238]. The dried leaves retain their fragrance well and so are used in pot-pourri[238]. The growing plant repels midges, flies and other insects[201]. The essential oil is an effective insecticide in 1 - 2% concentration[240]. Landscape: Flower borders and beds Wall-side Borders City & Courtyard Gardens Cottage & Informal Garden Mediterranean Climate Plants.

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in most moderately fertile soils if they are well-drained[200]. Prefers a light soil[219]. Requires a sunny sheltered position[166, 200]. Requires a warm damp climate[7]. A very ornamental plant[1], lemon verbena is only hardy in the milder areas of Britain[1, 11, 14], growing well in Cornwall[59]. It can withstand about 10°c of frost[184] and survives outdoors on a wall at Kew[K]. It generally survives most winters outdoors if growing in a suitable position, though it is often cut back to ground level and then resprouts from the base in late spring[120] or early summer[238]. Giving the roots a good, thick organic mulch will confer extra protection from winter cold[244]. The plant succeeds outdoors at Howick, a garden on the coast of Northumberland. The leaves are very aromatic with a lemon scent[182], they are often used to make a drink or for their essential oils[4]. There has been considerable confusion over the naming of this species. We are following the treatment used in [11] and [200], which is also the current treatment in the 1999 edition of The Plant Finder. However, the book 'World Economic Plants' uses the name A. citrodora Palau (a different author to the one we cite) as the correct name. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring[219]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. In garden design, as well as the above-ground architecture of a plant, root structure considerations help in choosing plants that work together for their optimal soil requirements including nutrients and water. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [2-1].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in late spring. Only just cover the seed and keep in a light position, making sure the compost does not dry out. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in early summer and give some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of softwood, May/June in a frame. Grow on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts[K]. The cuttings root quickly and easily, though there can be losses in the first winter[K]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Grow on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts[K]. The cuttings root quickly and easily, though there can be losses in the first winter[K].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Erba luigia, Lemon-verbena, Wapine [1-4]. Also known as: Aloysia citrodora, Cedrón, Herb Louisa, Hierba Luisa, Lemon-Scented Verbena, Lippia citrodora, Lippia triphylla, Louisa, Verbena Citrodora, Verbena triphylla, Verveine Citronnée, Verveine Citronnelle, Verveine des Indes, Verveine du Chili, Verveine du Pérou, Verveine Odorante, Zappania citrodora.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Argentina* Native, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Hawaii, Pacific, Peru, Paraguay, South America, Uruguay, USA[1-4]. UK (RHS).

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Aloysia citriodoraLemon Verbena, Lemon beebrushShrub3.0 7-10 MLMSNDM433

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

phil batey   Fri Jul 23 17:44:38 2004

There is a lot about the use of lemon verbena to treat digestive complaints but i wounder why its very potent effect at curing head aches when used in a tea has not been mentioned

Concerned Viewer   Tue Aug 21 2007

Warning For Use of Lemon Verbena, over dose of the plant (mainly from herbal teas) will cause irritation to the throat

Frann Leach   Mon Jun 1 2009

US Department of Agricultural, GRIN database Entry for Aloysia triphylla, where it is said to be a synonym for Aloysia citrodora Palau

   Apr 26 2011 12:00AM

In a study performed by the Faculty of Medicine, Autonomous University of Madrid, it was demonstrated that the antioxidant capacity values of Lemon verbena infusion are comparable to those commercial antioxidant drink based on green tea.

I normally root hardwood cuttings of Verbena in sandy soil but I thought I'd try a few in water for a change and the results are spectacular. The photo shows the roots after three weeks in water.   May 24 2012 12:00AM

I normally root hardwood cuttings of Verbena in sandy soil but I thought I'd try a few in water for a change and the results are spectacular. The photo shows the roots after three weeks in water.

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