Herb: Snowball Sand Verbena

Latin name: Abronia fragrans

Family: Nyctaginaceae (Four-o'clock Family)

Medicinal use of Snowball Sand Verbena:

The plant is cathartic, diaphoretic and emetic. The roots and flowers were used by the North American Indians to treat stomach cramps and as a general panacea or "life" medicine. A cold infusion was used as a lotion for sores or sore mouths and also to bathe perspiring feet.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

June to


Habitat of the herb:

Dry sandy soils.

Edible parts of Snowball Sand Verbena:

Root - cooked. Dried then ground into a powder and mixed with corn. Use of the root was said by some North American Indian tribes to give one a good appetite and make them fat.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow autumn or early spring very shallowly in pots of sandy soil in a greenhouse. Germination can be very slow unless you peel off the outer skin and pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 2 months at 15C. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Seedlings are prone to damp off and so should be kept well-ventilated. Plant out in late spring, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings in spring, rooted in sand.

Cultivation of Snowball Sand Verbena:

Dry sandy soils.

Known hazards of Abronia fragrans:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.