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Vitex agnus-castus

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
VY-teks AG-nus KAS-tus
Description

Chasetree is a non-native shrub or tree which does best in hot weather. In cooler climates, it can be severely pruned to the ground and will usually regrow. Prune early spring as flowering occurs on new wood. Prune faded flowers to promote continuous flowering. This tree is resistant to damage by deer and is moderately salt tolerant. Good drought tolerance once established. It freely reseeds and can become weedy.

Some of the smaller cultivars, like ‘Blue Diddley' and ‘Blue Puffball’ can be grown as 3 to 6 ft shrubs other cultivars, such as ‘Cooke’s Blue’, ‘Cooke’s Pink’, or ‘Cooke’s Purple’ can grow as tall as 25 to 30 feet with the same spread. There are also many cultivars of various sizes in between.

This plant has the potential to become invasive, especially in southern areas of the country.

PESTS AND DISEASES: Thrips can cause damage. It is the only known host for hyalesthus obsoletus and can be used as a biological control agent by planting it around vineyards to trap this cicada. Root rot can occur in too moist soils.

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Abbeville Blue'
  • 'Alba' (white)
  • ‘Blue Diddley’
  • ‘Blue Puffball’
  • ‘Blushing Spires’
  • 'Cooke’s Blue'
  • ‘Cooke’s Pink’
  • ‘Cooke’s Purple’
  • ‘Delta Blues’
  • 'Latifolia'
  • 'Rosea' (pink)
Tags:
#bees#butterflies#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#birds#fragrant flowers#shrub#weedy#tree#salt tolerant#playground#deer resistant#children's garden#non-native#rapid grower
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Abbeville Blue'
  • 'Alba' (white)
  • ‘Blue Diddley’
  • ‘Blue Puffball’
  • ‘Blushing Spires’
  • 'Cooke’s Blue'
  • ‘Cooke’s Pink’
  • ‘Cooke’s Purple’
  • ‘Delta Blues’
  • 'Latifolia'
  • 'Rosea' (pink)
Tags:
#bees#butterflies#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#birds#fragrant flowers#shrub#weedy#tree#salt tolerant#playground#deer resistant#children's garden#non-native#rapid grower
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vitex
    Species:
    agnus-castus
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Essential oils have been found in the fruits and in the leaves. It has been used as an insect repellent.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mediterranean, Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Resistant to deer. Attracts birds, butterflies and bees which use the flowers to produce honey.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Open
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a drupe with 4 cells, each containing 1 seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Fragrant pink, purple, white flowers all summer. Individual flowers are 1 inch across with five petals appearing in loose panicles (to 12" long).
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Compound branches have 5-7 leaflets that are lance-shaped and up to 4-8 inches long by 2-4 inches wide. They are aromatic and gray-green in color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is gray and blocky
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Salt
    Problems:
    Weedy