Chaste Tree, flower © Paula Côrte-Real

Chaste Tree

Vitex agnus-castus

Family and description

It is a deciduous shrub from the Lamiaceae family that can reach to about 6 m in height.

It is distinguished by the open, expanded crown, grey branches, opposite, pinnate compound leaves, but above all by the magnificent flowering in summer.

The tubular, labiate flowers, in erect terminal panicles, are nectariferous, attracting bees and birds.

The fruit is a reddish-black globose drupe.

Origin and habitat

Originating in the Mediterranean region and Central Asia, it is sub-spontaneous in the Northwest of Portugal.

Uses and curiosities

The extract of all vitex fruits has components that affect the pituitary gland, which is why it has been widely used in medicine since ancient Greece by famous doctors such as Hippocrates in the treatment of female hormonal imbalance.

It is propagated from cuttings during the dormant vegetative period.

It does well in almost any soil with good drainage, in full sun or partial shade.

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