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Veronicastrum virginicum

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Kemper Code:  G180

Common Name: Culver's root
Zone: 3 to 8
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Plantaginaceae
Missouri Native: Yes
Native Range: Northeastern North America
Height: 4 to 7 feet
Spread: 2 to 4 feet
Bloom Time: May - August   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: White to pale blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade (and appreciates some afternoon shade in the deep South), but tends to flop and require support if grown in too much shade. Soil should not be allowed to dry out. Usually takes several years to establish itself in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Culver's root is a large, erect, Missouri native perennial which occurs in open woods, thickets and moist meadows and prairies throughout the State. Typically reaches 3-7' tall when in bloom. Resembles a large veronica, except its lance-shaped leaves are in whorls (3-7 leaves per whorl) on the stems rather than opposite. Dense, slender, 9" long spikes (racemes) of tiny, tube-like, white to pale blue flowers open from the top down in late spring to early summer atop strong, upright stems. Bloom can extend well into the summer. Smaller, branching, erect, lateral racemes give plant a candelabra-like effect when in full bloom. Root has been used medicinally as a cathartic.


No serious insect or disease problems. Seldom needs staking, but may need support if grown in too much shade.


Tall spikes provide a strong accent and good vertical height for the garden. Effective at the rear of the perennial border or in a mixed shrub border, native plant garden, cottage garden or wild garden.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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