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You are here: Home / Plants / Species Profiles / Beach Vitex
Species Profiles

Beach Vitex

Beach VitexScientific name: Vitex rotundifolia L. f.

Common names: Beach vitex, chasteberry, roundleaf chastetree, Monk’s pepper

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  • Coastal Communities in the Carolinas Turn the Tide Against 'Beach Kudzu' (Aug 3, 2011)
    Weed Science Society of America.
    Just a decade ago, sand dunes, native plants and wildlife along some of the most popular beaches in the Carolinas were under attack by beach vitex (Vitex rotundifolia) - a highly invasive plant nicknamed "beach kudzu". Today, though, the tide has turned thanks to the Beach Vitex Task Force, a unique public-private partnership established to fight the weed.

Native To: Asia (Olsen and Bell 2005)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 1989-1990 (Olsen and Bell 2005)

Means of Introduction: Introduced for erosion control (Olsen and Bell 2005)

Impact: Crowds out native species and may destroy sea turtle nesting habitat (Cousins et al. 2010)

Current U.S. Distribution:



Selected Internet Resources:

Federal Government

Vitex rotundifolia
Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

"Kudzu of the Beach" - Environmental Update (2004)
DOD. Army Corp of Engineers.
Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Distribution

Vitex rotundifolia Article Citation Search - AGRICOLA Database
USDA. National Agricultural Library.
Research; Special Note: NAL Catalog Search (resources)

Vitex rotundifolia - Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.

PLANTS Database - Roundleaf Chastetree
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.
Taxonomy; Distribution

Life's a Beach
DOI. United States Geological Survey.
Photographs; Impacts; Dispersion

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State Government

Beach Vitex
Hilton Head Island Municipal Government.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts

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Identifying & Managing Beach Vitex
Clemson University Extension. Home and Garden Information Center.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Controls

Beach Vitex - Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Distribution

Beach Vitex - Invasive Plant Atlas of the MidSouth
Mississippi State University. GeoResources Institute.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls; Legal Aspects

Beach Vitex: Kudzu of the Coast? - Coastwatch (2006)
North Carolina Sea Grant.
Introduction History; Impacts; Distribution; Controls

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Vitex rotundifolia (shrub) - ISSG Global Invasive Species Database
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Controls

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Carolinas Beach Vitex Task Force
Carolinas Beach Vitex Task Force.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Distribution

Vitex rotundifolia - Plants of Hawaii
Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk.

Hawaiian Plant Threatens South Carolina Dunes (PDF | 112 KB)
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Habitat; Controls


Cousins, M.C., J. Briggs, C. Gresham, J. Whetstone, and T. Whitwell. 2010. Beach Vitex (Vitex rotundifolia): An Invasive Coastal Species (PDF | 1.1 MB). Invasive Plant Science and Management 3:340–345.

Olsen, R.T. and A.C. Bell. 2005. History of beach vitex cultivation: a potential invasive ornamental (PDF | 418 KB). Pages 531–533 in Proceedings of the 50th Annual Southern Nursery Association Research Conference. Atlanta, GA: Southern Nursery Association.

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Last Modified: Jul 01, 2014
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