Aloysia citrodora or Lemon Verbena is also known as Lemon Beebrush, Aloysia citriodora, Aloysia triphylla, Lippia citriodora. It is a deciduous sub-shrub from the Verbenaceae family of plants. It is native to South America more specifically Argentina and Chile. The plant was first publicly noticed by a French botanist Philibert Commerson in 1767.
It was transported to Europe by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 17th century to be cultivated for its oil. The oil is steam-distilled from the leaves much like rosewater is distilled. It was used in perfumes, however, when it was discovered that the oil has phototoxic properties it is no longer allowed in the European Union. The leaves are also used as herbs for cooking and salads and beverages.
It flowers in the summer with panicles of white or light purple flowers. The leaves which are narrowly-lanced shape are lemon-scented and probably the main reason Aloysia citrodora was originally cultivated in Europe. It is easy-to-grow. Plant Aloysia citrodora in well-drained soil in full sun. It is not hardy so use mulch in colder climates in the winter. Propagate by softwood cuttings. Generally, it is pest-free and disease-free.