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Aloysia virgata (Ruiz & Pav.) Juss.

Family Name: Verbenaceae
Synonyms: Aloysia urticoides Cham., Verbena virgata Ruiz & Pav.
Common Name: Sweet Almond Verbena, White Almond Bush, Incense Bush, Tree Verbena
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Butterfly Food Plant Fragrant Ornamental Flowers Dry Soils / Drought Woody


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Woody)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Leggy
Maximum Height 3 m to 3.6 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 2.4 m to 3 m


Native Distribution Argentina
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Evergreen to deciduous, woody shrub with weeping growth habit.
Foliage Leaves are elliptic with a toothed leaf margin, and arranged oppositely along the stems. Leaf apex is acute while base is acute to rounded. Leaf texture is tomentose.
Stems Multi-stemmed, stiff, four-sided, densely hairy at first and develop lenticels later on.
Flowers Small, white flowers are bell-shaped to salver-shaped with 4 ruffled lobes and have a sweet, fruity fragrance. This species is dioecious with male and female flowers occuring on different plants. They are arranged in drooping spike inflorescences (20 cm long) that are located at the stem tips or leaf axils.
Fruits Dry, dehiscent fruits are known as capsules. They are round and brown.
Habitat Occurs in open woodlands and forest margins.
Similar The flowers of this species are similar to those of Buddleja asiatica (synonym: Buddleia asiatica). However, the leaves of Aloysia virgata are wider and held horizontal, while those of Buddleja asiatica are narrow, sharply pointed and tend to droop.
Cultivation This species should be planted in loamy, well-draining soil (pH 6.5 - 7.5). It is tolerant of nutritient poor and alkaline soils. Plants should be pruned after flowering, because flowers develop on the new growth. Propagate by seed, stem cuttings and air layering. Seeds should be stratified for 4 weeks at 4°C and sown on the soil surface. They will germinate within 3 to 4 weeks. Seeds tend to be quite vulnerable, so avoid overwatering to prevent damping off.
Etymology Genus Aloysia commemorates Queen Maria Louisa (1751 - 1819), wife of King Charles IV of Spain. Species virgata means with straight slender twigs and refers to the growth habit of the plant.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( It can be used to induce abortion. The juice extracted from leaves may be applied externally to treat skin diseases. )
[Others]: Food: The roots can be dried and powdered and used in preparation of a fermented liquor. Other: The flowers are used as an ingredient in perfumes. The wood can be used for making walking sticks.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping The plant is cultivated for its long blooming and fragrant flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant (Flowers)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Butterfly Garden, Fragrant / Aromatherapy Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly Food Plant (Flower Nectar), Bird Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth), Insects (Bee), Vertebrates (Bird))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Stem Cutting (Softwood), Air-Layering


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose, Rough
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical)
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Acute, Rounded / Obtuse
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Individual Flower Shape Campaulate / Bell-shaped, Salverform
Inflorescence Type Spike
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Image Repository



Master ID 439
Species ID 1735
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 22 January 2021.

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