Saturday, June 16, 2012

WHAT'S IN BLOM -Lilac Chaste Tree

Vitex agnus castus - Lilac Chaste Tree
Lantana camera 'Miss Huff'
The Chaste Tree pictured is in our Mixed Border at the Arboretum.  It makes a lovely contrast with our 'Miss Huff', a hardy lantana.  Both plants attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.  Peaking out behind the chaste tree you see a bit of yellow from our Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria paniculata) which has been written about previously and can be found in the archives.

Here is an excerpt from 'Floridata' : The chaste tree is a beautiful little deciduous tree or large shrub with a showy summertime flower display. The leaves are 3-4 in (7.6-10 cm) in diameter and palmately compound with 5 to 7 fingerlike leaflets. Also called sage tree, the foliage is likewise aromatic and is typically grey-green to dark green above and lighter on the undersides. The leaves also bear a striking resemblance to those of the infamous marijuana or hemp (Cannabis spp.) plant which provides yet another common name, hemp tree. When in bloom, due to the similarity of the flowers, the chaste tree is sometimes mistaken for butterfly bush (Buddleia). 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.  

Here is a fact sheet for more detailed information:  Vitex agnus-castus