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Sand Verbena Abronia fragrans

Previously known as:

  • Abronia fragrans var. glaucenscens
  • Abronia latifolia
  • Abronia turbinata
  • Abronia villosa
Phonetic Spelling
a-BRO-nee-uh FRAY-granz
Description

Abronia fragrans, or Fragrant Sand-verbena, is a fragrent herbaceous perennial in the four o'clock family, a family distinguished by its habit of flowering late in the day. The plant is typically found in dry sandy soils, woodlands, open areas, sandy plains, meadows and pastures at elevations of 1300 to 6500 feet.  It sprawls along the ground with sticky hairy stems and has upright flower stems with showy balls of white flowers that are sometimes green, lavender or pink.  The flowers open in the late afternoon, stay open all night, and then close in the morning. It is a taprooted plant that grows to 1 to 3 feet wide. It can be planted in rock gardens where its blooms can attract butterflies.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#white flowers#wildlife plant#nectar plant#rock gardens#late spring flowers#early spring flowers#mid-summer flowers#mid-spring flowers#early summer flowers#late summer flowers#butterfly friendly#early fall flowers#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#meadows#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#white flowers#wildlife plant#nectar plant#rock gardens#late spring flowers#early spring flowers#mid-summer flowers#mid-spring flowers#early summer flowers#late summer flowers#butterfly friendly#early fall flowers#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#meadows#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Abronia
    Species:
    fragrans
    Family:
    Nyctaginaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans used the Sand-verbena flowers and roots for stomach and bowel problems and, when cooked and ground into a powder, mixed with corn. It was named a ‘life’ medicine that could be used to give one a good appetite and make one fat. A cold infusion was used as a lotion for mouth sores and to bathe hot tired feet.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central United States to Mexico
    Distribution:
    The Great Plains, from Montana and North Dakota south to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract butterflies.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Spreading
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Egg-shaped achenes about 0.1 of an inch long, lustrous, and black or brown. The achene is enclosed within a leathery top-shaped calyx base which may or may not be winged.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Showy white, (sometimes, pink, purple or green) heads are 2 inches across and bloom from April to September. Numerous blossoms are held in ball-shaped clusters at the ends of the sticky-hairy, branched stems. Each flower is an elongated trumpet shape – a long narrow tube topped by five small lobes. The base of the tube are pink and the sepals may also have a pink tint. Beneath the flower head, at the top of the stem are five thin yellowish-green bracts. The flowers only open in the cool evening and give off a fragrance of vanilla.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The 3 inch long and 1 1/2 inch wide leaves are bright green, with a reddish tint at the base. They are very hairy especially at the lower surface of the leaf.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Thick sticky stems are covered with short hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Rock Wall
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Insect Pests