Monday, May 31, 2010

Viva Vitex

These shrubby trees are one of my favorites when their white or purple blossom sprays kick off the beginning of summer. They are heavily planted along I-35 due to their sturdy constitutions. Up close vitex foliage looks like marijuana, a pentagram of pointed leaves which have a spicy camphor/lavender smell when crushed. Also called chasteberry; due to its leaves once being thought to have anti-aphrodisiac properties. This specimen along the Arroyo Seco greenbelt is stunning; my photo does not do it justice. Large pots of vitex are standing out front at Shoal Creek Nursery—a sure sign that customers are asking for “that purple thing that's blooming right now.”

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