Short, slender perennial with single stems or with upper stems sparingly branched. Stems 4-angled. Flowers on single spikes with many small, deep lavender or purple flowers. Blooms May-September. Leaves opposite, narrow, oblong, sessile or nearly so, coarsely toothed (other Missouri Verbena species have broader leaves).
Similar species: There are 7 Verbena species in Missouri, 5 with a wide distribution. This species is separated from the others by its narrowly lance-shaped, stalkless leaves, tall, thin flower spikes, and upright habit.