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Federal Noxious Weed
TDA Noxious Weed
TPWD Prohibited Exotic Species
Invasive Plant Atlas of the US

NOTE: means species is on that list.

Vitex agnus-castus


Lilac chastetree

Synonym(s):
Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena Family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Shrub


Photographer: Bransford, W.D. Mrs.
Source: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Description

The chaste tree is a sprawling plant that grows 10-20 ft (3-6 m) and about as wide. Branched flower clusters are produced on new wood in late spring and early summer in a great flush that makes the tree look like a hazy purple cloud. It continues to bloom sporadically until early fall. Not only is the tree strikingly beautiful when in full bloom, but it is also fragrant and attracts pollinating bees and hummingbirds make hungry visits. Flowers are followed by a fleshy fruit that contains four seeds that are sometimes used as seasoning, similar to black pepper (monk's pepper is another of this species' common names). Flower color ranges from violet to blue to deep purple.

Ecological Threat: Out competing native vegetation.

Biology & Spread:

History: The species name Agnus castus originates from the Greek agnos castus, meaning chaste, as the Greeks thought the plant calmed sexual passion. Its common name of caste berry and monks pepper also gives some indication of its historical usage.

U.S. Habitat: Found in limestone outcrops and dry creek beds throughout Central Texas.

Distribution

U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.

Native Origin: S. Europe, W. Asia (Alfred Rehder, Manual of Cultivated Trees and Shrubs: Hardy in North America, The MacMillan Co., New York (1967)); NatureServe Explorer

U.S. Present: AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, NM, OK, OR, PA, PR, SC, TN, TX, VA

Distribution:

Mapping

Invaders of Texas Map: Vitex agnus-castus
EDDMapS: Vitex agnus-castus
USDA Plants Texas County Map: Vitex agnus-castus

Invaders of Texas Observations

List All Observations of Vitex agnus-castus reported by Citizen Scientists

Resembles/Alternatives

Management

USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS. MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.

Text References

Alfred Rehder.1967. Manual of Cultivated Trees and Shrubs: Hardy in North America. The MacMillan Co., New York.

NatureServe Explorer

Floridata. 2004. Vitex agnus-castus. (Accessed 20 August 2010: http://www.floridata.com/ref/v/vitex_a.cfm).

Online Resources

Search Online

Google Search: Vitex agnus-castus
Google Images: Vitex agnus-castus
NatureServe Explorer: Vitex agnus-castus
USDA Plants: Vitex agnus-castus
Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States: Vitex agnus-castus
Bugwood Network Images: Vitex agnus-castus

Last Updated: 2006-10-09 by LBJWFC
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