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This species is very common from East Africa to Tahiti in the Pacific. It is grown as an ornamental and for medicinal use.

Vitex trifolia (simpleleaf chastetree)

[FSOM]

M. Thulin. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1–4 [updated 2008] https://plants.jstor.org/collection/FLOS

Morphology General Habit
Shrub or small tree; young branches densely pubescent with greyish hairs
Morphology Leaves
Leaves 1–5-foliolate; leaflets oblong-elliptic to oblanceolate or obovate or almost round, 1.5–7 x 0.8–4 cm, emarginate or rounded to acute or acuminate at the apex, cuneate to attenuate at the base, puberulous to glabrescent and ± glandular above, tomentose beneath; petiole 0.6–3.3 cm long; petiolules 1–20 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences terminal, usually together with axillary ones from the upper axils, much-branched, paniculate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 4–5 mm long, white tomentose outside
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla blue to purple, puberulous outside; tube 10–13 mm long; lower lip up to 6 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit globose or ovoid, c. 5 mm in diam.; fruiting calyx cup-shaped, c. 5 mm wide.

[UNAL]
Vernacular
Aceituno, Palo de arco

[FTEA]

Verbenaceae, B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1992

Morphology General Habit
Shrub or small tree to 6.5 m. or some varieties procumbent or creeping and rooting at the nodes, mostly much branched below with slender stems; bark brown, smooth; young branches densely pubescent with greyish hairs.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite, 1–5-foliolate; leaflets oblong-elliptic or obovate to oblanceolate or sometimes almost round, 1.5–7 cm. long, 0.8–4 cm. wide, obtuse, emarginate or rounded to acute or acuminate at the apex, cuneate to attenuate or rarely rounded at the base, entire or in one variety 2–3-sect, puberulous or glabrescent and ± gland-dotted above, tomentose to densely velvety pubescent beneath; petioles 0.6–3.3 cm. long; petiolules 0.1–2 cm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences terminal and axillary in upper leaf-axils, much branched panicles of many-flowered cymes 3–23 cm. long, 2–4 cm. wide; peduncles 1–5 cm. long together with the rhachis grey-pubescent; cymes short, 0.4–1.5 cm. long; pedicels ± 1 mm. long; main bracts leaf-like; bracteoles linear, 1–3 mm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 4–5 mm. long, 2.5–3.5 mm. wide with acute or blunt teeth, densely white tomentose outside.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla blue, lavender or purple, sometimes pale, puberulous outside; tube 1–1.3 cm. long, limb 2-lipped, the lower up to 6 mm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruits yellow or reddish turning blue or black, globose or ovoid, about 5 mm. long and wide, the calycine cup 5 mm. long and wide, pubescent outside.

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Simpleleaf chastetree is very common from East Africa to Tahiti in the Pacific, where it is grown as an ornamental and for medicinal use.
Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Vitex trifolia is 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.

Habitat

Simpleleaf chastetree grows on sand, coral, pumice gravel or shale. It is occasionally found in clay over limestone but this is rare. It also grows on beaches and along the inland edge of mangrove swamps, in grasslands and in forest and secondary vegetations. It is often found near watercourses.

Description

Overview: Vitex trifolia is a small tree or shrub up to 8 m tall. It has a smooth light grey to brown bark.

Leaves:  The leaves consist of 3 or 5 smaller leaflets which are all connected at one point (like the fingers of a hand) and are elliptic and between 3 and 12 cm long. The underside is covered with white hairs.

Flowers: The purple to blue flowers consist of a tube with five lobes; the central lobe is bigger than the others. The four stamens greatly exceed the corolla tube.

Fruits: The fleshy globose fruits are black when mature and up to 7 mm in diameter.

Uses

Simpleleaf chastetree is grown as an ornamental.

Anecdotal reports suggest it is used for women's health care throughout its range.

Cultivation

Vitex trifolia grow well on exposed coastal sand dunes. It likes moist, fertile, well-drained soils. Water well in the summer and avoid the extremes of soil moisture, neither drought nor water logging.

If propagating seeds, sow freshly collected seed in a mix of sand and coir. If propagating by cuttings, take them when the plants are not in flower or fruit (apical cuttings with at least two nodes). Cuttings should be rooted in a well-drained rooting medium such as perlite and coir under mist.

Distribution
Australia, China, Philippines
Ecology
Grows on sand, coral, pumice gravel or shale.
Conservation
Not threatened.
Hazards

None recorded.

[FZ]

Flora Zambesiaca. Vol 8, Pt 7. Avicenniaceae, R. Fernandes. Nesogenaceae, M.A. Diniz. Verbenaceae, R. Fernandes. Lamiaceae, R. Fernandes. 2005.

Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx shallowly 5-lobed; fruiting calyx cupular or saucer-shaped
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a drupe, up to 4 cm long and 3.5 cm wide but usually smaller, ellipsoid obovoid or globose, sitting on the enlarged calyx, sometimes edible.

[KSP]
Use
Ornamental.

Native to:

Afghanistan, Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Cambodia, Caroline Is., China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Comoros, Cook Is., Fiji, Gilbert Is., Hainan, India, Iran, Jawa, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Line Is., Madagascar, Malaya, Maluku, Marianas, Marquesas, Marshall Is., Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Guinea, New South Wales, Niue, Northern Territory, Philippines, Queensland, Samoa, Society Is., Solomon Is., Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Tuamotu, Tubuai Is., Vanuatu, Vietnam, Wake I., Wallis-Futuna Is., Western Australia

Introduced into:

Ascension, Bahamas, Christmas I., Cocos (Keeling) Is., Costa Rica, El Salvador, Florida, Hawaii, Mexico Southeast, Nicaragua, Seychelles, Trinidad-Tobago

English
Simpleleaf chastetree

Vitex trifolia L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Aug 19, 2016 Seda [SAN 152553], Sabah K000939132
Aug 19, 2016 Seda [SAN 152552], Sabah K000939133
Jan 1, 2013 I Komang Sujata (Sujata) [IKS 21], Lesser Sunda Is. K000734516
Nov 1, 2007 Luke [11696], Kenya K000479595
Jan 1, 2007 Piskaut [20234], Papua New Guinea K000247921
Jan 14, 1989 Bloembergen, S. [4788], Indonesia K000672674
Dec 22, 1988 Goklin [2240], Malaysia K000672676
Dec 21, 1988 Forbes, H.O. [3326a], Indonesia K000672677
Dec 21, 1988 Riedel, J.G.F. [s.n.], Indonesia K000672685
Jan 1, 1988 Riedel, J.G.F. [s.n.], Indonesia K000698056
Dec 12, 1986 Maskuri [909], Indonesia K000672681
Dec 12, 1986 Buwalda, P. [4411], Indonesia K000672679
Nov 1, 1985 Powell, D.A. [326], Australia K000698058
Nov 22, 1984 Kornassi (Capt. Rutten) [926], Indonesia K000672675
Ramlanto [411], Indonesia K000672678
Anonymous [s.n.], Indonesia K000672684
Anonymous [s.n.] K000672686
Robinson, C.B. [304], Indonesia K000698055
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 1743], Myanmar K001114044
s.coll. [Cat. no. 1743], Thailand K001114049
s.coll. [Cat. no. 1743] K001114046
s.coll. [Cat. no. 1743] K001114051
s.coll. [Cat. no. 1743], India K001114050
s.coll. [Cat. no. 1743] K001114047
s.coll. [Cat. no. 1743] K001114052
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 1743], Myanmar K001114043
s.coll. [Cat. no. 1743] K001114048
s.coll. [Cat. no. 1743] K001114045
Elbert, J. [4323], Indonesia K000698054

First published in Sp. Pl.: 638 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Baksh-Comeau, Y., Maharaj, S.S., Adams, C.D., Harris, S.A., Filer, D.L. & Hawthorne, W.D. (2016). An annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Trinidad and Tobago with analysis of vegetation types and botanical 'hotspots' Phytotaxa 250: 1-431.
  • Balkrishna, A. (2018). Flora of Morni Hills (Research & Possibilities): 1-581. Divya Yoga Mandir Trust.
  • Bramley, G.L.C. (2019). Flora Malesiana 23: 1-444. Noordhoff-Kolff N.V., Djakarta.
  • Davidse, G. & al. (eds.) (2012). Flora Mesoamericana 4(2): 1-533. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.
  • Evenhuis, N.L. & Eldredge, L.G. (eds.) (2012). Records of the Hawaii biological survey for 2011. Part II: plants Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 113: 1-102.
  • Fairhurst, W. (2004). Flowering Plants of Ascension island: 1-300. Higham Press, Shirland, Alfreton, England.
  • Friedmann, F. (1994). Flore des Seychelles Dicotylédones: 1-663. ORSTOM éditions.
  • George, A.S., Orchard, A.E. & Hewson, H.J. (eds.) (1993). Oceanic islands 2 Flora of Australia 50: 1-606. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Hammel, B.E., Grayum, M.H., Herrera, C. & Zamora, N. (eds.) (2015). Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica. Volumen VIII. Dicotyledóneas (Sabiaceae-Zygophyllaceae) Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 131: 1-657. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • Morat, P. & Veillon, J.-M. (1985). Contributions à la conaissance de la végétation et de la flore de Wallis et Futuna Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Section B, Adansonia 7: 259-329.
  • National Parks Board Singapore (2006). Vascular Plant Life Checklist Pulau Ubin www.nparks.gov.sg/nparks_cms/cms/cmsmgr/data/6/PlantChkList.xls.
  • Suzuki, M., Taufatofua, P. & Koyama, T. (2007). New records of plants from Tonga Makinoa, n.s., 6: 25-62.
  • Turner, I.M. (1995 publ. 1997). A catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Malaya Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 47(2): 347-655.
  • Wester, L. (1985). Checklist of the vascular plants of the Northern Line Islands Atoll Research Bulletin 287: 1-38.
  • de Kok, R.P.J. (2007). The genus Vitex L. (Lamiaceae) in New Guinea and the South Pacific islands Kew Bulletin 62: 587-603.

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Mabberley, D.J. & de Kok, R.P.J. (2004). Labiatae. In: P. Morat & H.S. Mackee, Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et Dépendances, vol. 25: 20-141.
  • Sunarno, B. (1995). Vitex L. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J., Soerianegara, I., Wong, W. C. (eds). Plant Resources of South-East Asia. Timber trees: Minor Commercial Timbers. Backhuys, Leiden.
  • Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. & Sohmer, S.H. (1999). Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai’i 2nd Edn, vol 2. Bishop Museum, Honolulu.
  • de Kok, R.P.J. (2007). The genus Vitex L. in New Guinea and the South Pacific Islands. Kew Bull. 62: 587-603.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Baksh-Comeau, Y., Maharaj, S.S., Adams, C.D., Harris, S.A., Filer, D.L. & Hawthorne, W.D. (2016). An annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Trinidad and Tobago with analysis of vegetation types and botanical 'hotspots' Phytotaxa 250: 1-431.
  • Bramley, G.L.C. (2019). Flora Malesiana 23: 1-444. Noordhoff-Kolff N.V., Djakarta.
  • Davidse, G. & al. (eds.) (2012). Flora Mesoamericana 4(2): 1-533. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.
  • Fairhurst, W. (2004). Flowering Plants of Ascension island: 1-300. Higham Press, Shirland, Alfreton, England.
  • Fosberg, F.R. & Sachet, M.-H. (1987). Flora of the Gilbert Island, Kiribati, Checklist Atoll Research Bulletin 295: 1-33.
  • Fosberg, F.R., Sachet, M.-H., Oliver, R. (1979). A geographical checklist of the Micronesian Dicotyledonae Micronesica; Journal of the College of Guam 15: 41-295.
  • Friedmann, F. (1994). Flore des Seychelles Dicotylédones: 1-663. ORSTOM éditions.
  • George, A.S., Orchard, A.E. & Hewson, H.J. (eds.) (1993). Oceanic islands 2 Flora of Australia 50: 1-606. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • Hammel, B.E., Grayum, M.H., Herrera, C. & Zamora, N. (eds.) (2015). Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica. Volumen VIII. Dicotyledóneas (Sabiaceae-Zygophyllaceae) Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 131: 1-657. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • Thaman, R.R., Fosberg, F.R., Manner, H.I. & Hassall, D.C. (1994). The Flora of Nauru Atoll Research Bulletin 392: 1-223.
  • Thulin, M. (ed.) (2006). Flora of Somalia 3: 1-626. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. & Sohmer, S.H. (1999). Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, rev. ed., 2: 989-1918. University of Hawai'i Press, Bishop Museum Press.

Flora of Somalia

  • Flora Somalia, (2000) Author: by M. Thulin [updated by M. Thulin 2008]

Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Alston in Handb. Fl. Ceylon 6: 232 (1931).
  • C.B. Cl. in Fl. Brit India 4: 583 (1885).
  • L., Sp. Pl.: 638 (1753), as “trifoliis”.
  • Moldenke in Rev. Fl. Ceylon 4: 378 (1983).
  • Singhakumara, The Biology of Vitex in Sri Lanka, D.Phil. thesis, Oxford (unpublished).
  • Trimen, Handb. Fl. Ceylon 3: 356 (1895).

Universidad Nacional de Colombia

  • Bernal, R., S.R. Gradstein & M. Celis (eds.). 2019. Nombres comunes de las plantas de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://www.biovirtual.unal.edu.co/nombrescomunes/es/

Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

Flora Zambesiaca
Flora Zambesiaca
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Flora of Somalia
Flora of Somalia
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Universidad Nacional de Colombia
ColPlantA database
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0