Indian three-leaf vitex

Indian three-leaf vitex

Vitex trifolia

Common Name:

Indian three-leaf vitex

Scientific Name:

Vitex trifolia

Alternative common names:

Common Blue Vitex; Lagondi; Simpleleaf Chastree; Sangari; Gendavasi


Vitex trifolia is a relatively small tree found primarily in countries that border on the Pacific and Indian oceans. It grows up to a maximum of about 8m, Vitex trifolia can either be regarded as a shrub or a small variety of tree. Its bark is a gray or brown color, and the leaves are generally about 12cm.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Widespread from North Australia east to Tahiti and north via Indonesia and the Philippines to China, India and Sri Lanka. Also reported from East Africa and introduced on many Pacific islands in the Central Pacific and Hawaii.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1b.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Coastal parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

How does it spread?

Seed dispersal by birds, by people planting it.

Why is it a problem?

Poses a huge threat to the conservation of coastal forests as it interrupts the growth and replaces local plants. It also disrupts nesting sites for coastal wildlife.

What does it look like?

Leaves:The leaves are not in one piece, but rather in three, or sometimes five, little leaflets stuck together at their bases, of which the middle leaf is the longest.
Although the top of the leaves are green, the underneath is typically much paler and covered with hairs. The entire leaf releases a strong scent when damaged.

Flowers:When the tree flowers, the flowers are blue or purple in color and are shaped like a tube with five segments that has a larger diameter at the end farthest from the stalk.
Fruit/seeds: After the flowers, Vitex trifolia produces small, spherical fruits with a central stone that are black when fully ripened.

Does the plant have any uses?

Ornamental uses and medicine in other parts of the world.

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