Lemon Verbena (Essential Oil Information)

Scientific Name: Lippia citriodora or Aloysiatriphille

Family: Verbeneacee



Lemon verbena is a perennial appreciated for its citrus perfumed leaves. Plant size varies according to climate. Reaches 50 cms in mild zones. Planted near the house for easy access, leaves should be rubbed between fingers for maximum perfume.

Trunk: Expert pruning needed to control this straight but somewhat disorderly plant

Foliage: Leaves grow in groups of 2/3. They are long, lance shaped with a deep central vein, sometimes rough to touch.

Flowers: Tiny, weightless white or violet flowers in spikes at the end of stele, flowering at the end of summer.

Habitat: Imported into Europe from South America by the Spanish in the 17th century.


Exposition: Favors sunny spots, sheltered from the wind. Light pruning of branches in autumn, cover roots and the lower part of the plant with leaves or mats where winter temperatures are below zero. Plants will regenerate in spring despite leaf loss due to deep roots. Vases should be brought into the warm in late autumn.

Reproduction: Sowing or branch layering in late spring.

Growth: Do not lose hope if, after a rigid winter, budding is late. Foliage may be damaged by frost but continue watering and fertilizing because roots have probably survived.

Harvest: Pluck the highly-scented leaves throughout the year. Maximum aroma when flowering.

Storage: Dried leaves maintain their aroma.


Culinary Usage: an excellent digestive, tonic and sedative is obtained from fresh or dried leaves. A pleasant tea is made when mint is added to this herb.

Beauty: An infusion perfumes bathwater. Tired or irritated eyes benefit from a 15 minute compress.

Myths and Legends: Recipe for a famous liqueur containing not only alcohol, syrup and green lemons but also lemon-scented verbena leaves. 500g pure alcohol 90o 300g water 250g sugar Peel of 2 green lemons about 80 fresh lemon-scented verbena leaves, best picked towards the end of August when plant is flowering. Leave well cleaned leaves and lemon peel in alcohol for 8 days. Melt icing sugar in water and occasionally shake both mixtures. Mix both liquids and leave to settle for one week before serving well-iced.

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