This plant is the perfect example of why you should not trust me, or me others. I previously called this a Wing-Fruited Verbena because I found this exact plant on what looked to be a trusted site–and usually is–and took the name without question. I nod to it familiarly every September as it flourishes in my neighborhood. I like to know the plants and say “That’s my old friend Wing-Fruited.” Then it struck me that it did not resemble other verbenas at all. I couldn’t find it in Weber’s Colorado Flora of the Eastern Slope, the botanist’s bible and panicked. My pictures appeared on a Google search, pretty, but utterly wrong. Bad Information. Beware! After harassing three professional botanists, or near-professional, Jennifer Ackerfield of CSU put me on the correct course. Now I had to learn to call it a Linearleaf Four O’Clock, not a very pleasing common name, so I searched a Canadian website and found the name “Umbrellawort,” which I much prefer. The bracts look somewhat like tiny umbrellas and “wort” is Old English for “flower.” So Umbrellawort it is.
This, below, is the flower. In full bloom.