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Vitex trifolia subsp. litoralis

Previously known as:

  • Vitex rotundifolia
Phonetic Spelling
VY-teks try-FOH-lee-a lit-or-AY-liss
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Salt spray and drought-tolerant; spreads by runners; has become very invasive in some coastal settings - NOT recommended for coastal landscapes.

Listed as Invasive

Alternatives that are less weedy:

  • American beachgrass, Ammophila breviligulata
  • Bitter panicum, Panicum amarum
  • Purple Hairgrass, Muhlenbergia sericea
  • Saltmeadow cordgrass, Spartina patens
  • Sea oats, Uniola paniculata
  • Seaside little bluestem, Schizachyrium littorale

Vitex rotundifolia was brought from Korea to North Carolina beaches in the mid-1980s to protect beaches from coastal erosion. Within a few years, it spread to natural beaches and undeveloped islands. Beach vitex is a serious threat to native dune plants, nesting sites for sea turtles and foraging and nesting areas for shorebirds from Georgia to Maryland.

It is listed as a State Noxious Weed by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In the coastal counties of North Carolina, it is now illegal to sell, distribute or move this species from one property to another.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#invasive#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#fragrant leaves#nectar plant#salt tolerant#high maintenance#showy fruits#wind tolerant#vines#naturalizes#hairy leaves#poor soils tolerant#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#invasive#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#fragrant leaves#nectar plant#salt tolerant#high maintenance#showy fruits#wind tolerant#vines#naturalizes#hairy leaves#poor soils tolerant#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vitex
    Species:
    trifolia
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract butterflies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Globose fleshy drupe 1/4" diameter round green when unripe, purple-black when ripe becoming dark brown when dry.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Tubular
    Flower Description:
    Purple blue 3" cymes arranged in a pyramidal panicle. Flowers two-lipped with 5 lobes.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Round, dark gray-green leaves 2 1/2" long with whitish-gray on the underside. Base tapering to rounded apex subacuminate to rounded.
  • Bark:
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Bark Description:
    Older stems have attractive fissured bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Erosion
    Poor Soil
    Salt
    Wind
    Problems:
    Invasive Species