Beach vitex is a perennial shrub with a woody stem that can sprawl more than 60 ft. Plants are up to 2 ft. In addition, the Consortium is joining forces with North Carolina Sea Grant (where beach vitex is also becoming a problem) in a coordinated outreach/education initiative. Beach vitex is extremely salt resistant, drought tolerant and thrives in the open habitat of the coastal dune system. A prolific seed generator, vitex can produce upwards of 3,300 viable seeds in one square meter. The easiest and safest way to eradicate beach vitex is a two step process involving cutting the stems just above groundline and immediately applying a glyphosate herbicide to the cut surface.
Most beach vitex stems can be cut with lopping shears however the larger stems may require a limbing saw. Beach vitex is a rapidly growing and sprawling shrub both vertically and horizontally that is very tolerant of salt and drought (Gresham & Neal, undated). Beach vitex produces a large seed bank and can reproduce vegetatively through rooting at leaf nodes along runners (Gresham & Neal, undated). The Beach Vitex is an invasive exotic plant and is now being referred to as the Kudzu of the Coast. The Town has recently completed a survey for Beach Vitex and is happy to report that at this time there are no visible signs of this exotic plant on any public property along Ocean Isle Beach.
The flowers are arranged in terminal clusters in panicles, and about 2cm long (Gresham & Neal, undated; HNPPD, 2001). The corolla is bluish-purple, densely puberulent externally, with the tube about 8 mm long. Leaves are arranged in spiral clusters at branch ends, and blades are long and narrow. Leaves average 45 cm long, and 3 cm wide; tend to bend down under own weight, giving a droopy appearance. Female trees produce a large fruit that resembles a pineapple and males trees produce a large cluster of fragrant yellow flowers. Hala occurs throughout much of the Pacific.
Each covers a specific area, recording information about turtle nests and hatchlings. It covered the sand with thick, vine-like runners of silvery-green foliage, virtually eliminating sand shifting. It blooms lovely purple flowers and has a eucalyptus-like scent. Boaters unlucky enough to discover it on their propellers will quickly discover its strong grip and defensive beak.
Take note of where you have seen beach vitex and contact the Task Force. As citizens and task force members locate and document beach vitex, researchers are looking at ways to eradicate the plant once it’s found. Simply tearing beach vitex from the ground won’t do, says Nash.
Small to medium, wide-spreading, short-bunked tree, 2-12 m tall, with rather stout twigs; deeply grooved bark; dense, silvery grey pubescent, leathery leaves; numerous, small, white flowers in branching, cymose clusters; and greenish white to brown, grape-like fruit. Common in coastal strand forests and beach thickets throughout the Pacific; occasional in agricultural areas, often surrounding excavated taro pits, on atolls; occasionally planted or protected in coastal home gardens on atolls and in coastal areas.Tags: Outreach Education, Vitex, Female Trees, Hatchlings, coastal dune system, Education Initiative, square meter, Terminal Clusters, Dune System
Carolinas Take on Beach Vitex,