lilac chastetree
Vitex agnus-castus L.


Vitex agnus-castus is a sprawling shrub that grows from 10-20 ft. (3-6 m) and about as wide.
The palmately compound leaves of Vitex agnus-castus are 3-4 in (7.6-10 cm) in diameter and with 5 to 7 lacelike leaflets. The foliage is aromatic and ranges from grey-green to dark green above and lighter underneath.
Flowers are blue, lavender or white, about 1 in. (2.5 cm) across, five petals blunt at tip, arranged in spiral. It blooms in springtime.
Vitex agnus-castus fruits are a globose drupe. Each fruit has four cells that usually contain one seed per cell.
Ecological Threat
Vitex agnus-castus is showing invasive tendencies in areas where it has been planted extensively in landscaping, as in Texas. It can now be found in limestone outcrops and dry creek beds throughout Central Texas.(1) The ’virtues’ listed by nurseries and gardeners indicate that the invasive potential for this plant may be high. Those characteristics include: “Easy to grow in any soil; can take of itself; survived six years drought unattended; hardly ever disturbed by pest or disease; and tolerant of salt drift.”(2) It does produce fertile seeds and readily seeds out into surrounding areas. Vitex agnus-castus should be listed as an EDRR (Early Detection & Rapid Response) species across the southern United States where it is warm enough for it to survive the winters.
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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Lamiales
Family: Verbenaceae
Genus: Vitex
Subject: Vitex agnus-castus L.


Plants - Shrub or Subshrub