Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Chaste Tree
Give a thumbs up Chastetree
Give a thumbs up Vitex
Give a thumbs up Lilac Chaste Tree
Give a thumbs up Monk's Pepper
Give a thumbs up Agnus Castus

Botanical names:
Vitex agnus-castus Accepted
Vitex agnus-castus var. caerulea Synonym
Vitex agnus-castus var. latifolia Synonym
Vitex agnus-castus var. agnus-castus Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 6a -23.3 °C (-10 °F) to -20.6 °C (-5 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 10 to 20 feet (3-6m)
Plant Spread: 5 to 15 feet (1.5-4.5m)
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Deciduous
Fragrant
Fruit: Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Fragrant
Blooms on new wood
Flower Color: Lavender
Pink
Purple
White
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Summer
Suitable Locations: Beach Front
Patio/Ornamental/Small Tree
Xeriscapic
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Erosion control
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Butterflies
Hummingbirds
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Pollinators: Various insects
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Awards and Recognitions: Texas Superstar®
Other: 2001 Georgia Gold Medal Winner

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What's Blooming in JuneWhat's Blooming in June
June 28, 2012

This month's mystery blossom contest winner is a very special person. Come on in and check him out!

(Full article18 comments)
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Comments:
Posted by ediblelandscapingsc (Catawba SC - Zone 7b) on Jun 14, 2015 7:20 PM

Vitex agnus-castus is widely cultivated in warm temperate and subtropical regions for its delicate-textured aromatic foliage and butterfly attracting spikes of lavender flowers. Vitex is derived from the Latin vieo, meaning to weave or to tie up, a reference to the use of Vitex agnus-castus in basketry. It's also referred to as false marijuana, chaste tree, vitex, monk's pepper, chaste berry, and many other names. The foliage as with all vitex agnus-castus looks similar to Cannabis sativa so it's always fun giving friends young plants and seeing their faces (priceless).

All jokes aside, the Vitex agnus-castus plant has many uses medicinally and was once used to suppress the sexual cravings of monks, hence the name monk's pepper. In addition to reducing sexual urges in men, it's been said to increase sexual urges in women and make them more fertile. It's also been rumored to help with menstrual cramps and irregular periods and to increase breast size.

The part most often used is the seeds, which are used as a pepper substitute in natural medicine, but many extracts are used in modern medicines outside the U.S. I have tasted the seeds and can't attest to any reduced sexual urges, but It does taste like pepper. All official evidence is limited to standardised controlled extracts, such as those used in Germany. Different extracts or herbal mixes may have significantly different properties and safety issues. Some of the modern uses include premenstrual syndrome, abnormal uterine bleeding disorders, and mastodynia. There are high levels of phytoestrogens in the seed to support these claims, and some of the compounds found in the plant seem to also work on the pituitary gland, but more research is needed. One should only use plants medicinally after speaking with a doctor or a professional and after both you and the doctor determine it's an approach you want to take.

There are 3 main flower colors of vitex agnus-castus currently available: white, pink, and purple, but in many different shades. Some purples are on the blue side of the spectrum while others have a deep rich purple color. Some varieties are difficult to locate at the moment, but for a plant to not only live but thrive on neglect and have so many medicinally useful qualities, I see big things for its future. I would recommend this plant to anyone in zone 7 and up except for people who may be allergic to bees.

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Posted by Skiekitty (Denver Metro - Zone 5a) on Apr 14, 2014 12:42 PM

My plant is a volunteer. I bought a red butterfly bush and this grew out of the base! Beautiful silvery-blue flowers, not woody at all like a butterfly bush. Dies to the ground every year in my zone 5 with no protection, comes back every spring. Butterflies love it!

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Plant name? by 5601Lisa Jul 20, 2017 10:14 PM 3
Lilac in the tropics by flowernut Jul 23, 2017 12:14 PM 4
Is this an oleander? by Aepark Feb 20, 2017 3:54 AM 9
ID Help, Please..... by wcgypsy Jun 23, 2016 5:52 PM 41
Need small trees for small backyard by WSheryl May 9, 2016 1:35 PM 3
Let's see what else we're growing, 2016 by dyzzypyxxy Jan 1, 2017 4:46 PM 1,398
Calif. Sue's Garden by Calif_Sue Aug 4, 2017 6:24 PM 394
My Garden and other stuff - 2015 by lovemyhouse Jan 2, 2016 3:43 PM 2,537
Let's see what else we're growing 2015 by dyzzypyxxy Jan 7, 2016 5:33 PM 1,034
Spring 2014 by soilsandup Jul 7, 2014 9:21 AM 293

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