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Glendale Public Library
Xeriscape Demonstration Garden Information Sheet


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Vitex agnus-castus-Monk's Pepper Tree 

Chaste Tree
Long, narrow spikes of purple flowers cover this plant in the summer months. Although the flower color can range from white to dark purple, most trees have been selected for the darker flower color. To be sure, try to select this plant when it is blooming. These fragrant flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. After blooming, narrow spikes of round, dark brown sees are produced. Monks in southern Europe and Asia, where this tree is native, reportedly used the seeds of this plant as a substitute for pepper. Unfortunately, this tree is fairly messy, shedding all of its leaves in the fall, and dropping old flowers and seeds throughout the year. However, its aromatic green leaves and long, profuse bloom period go a long way toward making up for the litter! Chaste tree is very shrub-like, but can be shaped into a tree form, eventually reaching a mature size of 25 feet tall and wide. Chaste tree handles our hot summer heat like a champ, as well as tolerating temperatures below 0 F. USDA Zone 6. 


Webmaster & Author George Hull Last Updated August 13, 2003