Beach Vitex

A Coastal Menace

Beach Vitex, Vitex rotundifolia, is a deciduous woody vine native the western Pacific. This plant was introduced to the Southeastern United States in the mid-1980’s for use as an ornamental and also for beach stabilization. By the mid-1990’s, plant specialists began to notice beach vitex spreading from original plantings on North Carolina and South Carolina beaches, crowding out native dune plants and altering sea turtle nesting areas.

Sea Turtle Nesting
Beach vitex on the beaches is altering sea turtle nesting areas and is also costing the lives of newly emerged sea turtle hatchlings. Hatchlings become trapped in the thick tangle of vegetation, exhausting themselves and perishing before reaching the ocean.
Impacts on Native Vegetation
In areas where beach vitex has been found, native plants are being choked out. Sea oats, beach panic grasses and the Federally threatened seabeach amaranth cannot out-compete the fast growing beach vitex.
Dune Erosion
Beach vitex lacks the fibrous root system like the native plants of our beaches and thus, lacks the ability to trap sand adequately. As beach vitex dies back each winter, the root systems can be found exposed where the beach has literally eroded from underneath the plant, further jeopardizing our beaches.

Identify Beach Vitex

Beach vitex is woody, vine-like plant with almost round leaves in pairs along the stem. The leaves feel smooth like leather or velvet and smell a spicy when crushed.

Report Beach Vitex

EDDMapS (Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System) is an easy-to-use mapping tool to document and monitor invasive species occurrence and distribution.

Previously reported locations.

Remove Beach Vitex