Tea is a weedy annual (and sometimes
perennial) herbaceous plant that grows 60–120 cm tall. It bears
small reddish-purple to deep blue flowers that grow along tall
bracts that are favored by butterflies. It is indigenous to most
parts of tropical America and, although some consider it a
semi-invasive weed, it is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental
plant for its blue flowers and deeply-serrated, dark green leaves.
Brazilian Tea belongs to the large Verbenaceae family, which
comprises about 100 genera and 2,600 species (including the common
vervain and verbena plants). It is often referred to as Bastard
Vervain or Wild Verbena. Two very similar species of Stachytarpheta
grow in the tropics and are used interchangeably (and share the same
common names) in many countries’ herbal medicine systems — S.
cayennensis and S. jamaicensis.