Invasive beach vitex working its way back into Florida

Invasive beach vitex working its way back into Florida

By Charles Krupnick
Beach vitex (Vitex rotundifolia) is an invasive species that can crowd out native plants such as sea oats. It has been a particular problem in beach areas of the Carolinas and is now working its way into Florida.
Beach vitex has been identified on several properties on Pensacola Beach and in recent months on at least one property on Perdido Key. While not prohibited, the plant is not recommended and once established can be difficult and costly to eradicate.
As with many invasive species, the most effective means of eradication is to get it early. Beach vitex has woody runners, purple flowers and is spread by long-lasting seeds that can float to new locations.
If detected, please contact the Escambia County Sea Grant Representative Rick O’Connor at roc1@ufl.edu for assistance in identification and removal. For more on the issue, see the March 2, 2017 University of Florida IFAS Extension article “Trying to Stay Ahead of Beach Vitex” by Rick O’Connor at nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu.

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