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The New Invader… Beach Vitex

Last year we introduced the issue of beach vitex (Vitex rotundifolia) to residents of Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key.  This plant was introduced to the Carolina coast in the 1980’s to restore dunes after a bad hurricane period.  The plant quickly became invasive and has forced the state to form a task force to remove it.  Since that time the plant as dispersed north to Virginia and as far south as Volusia County in Florida.

Beach vitex beginning to grow over a dune face on Pensacola Beach . Photo: Rick O'Connor

Beach vitex beginning to grow over a dune face on Pensacola Beach . Photo: Rick O’Connor

The plant was first reported in our area two years ago.  Sea Grant in Escambia County developed a media campaign to get the word out about the potential issue this plant may cause.  We were able to identify 13 properties who had the plant and 7 of those have begun the process of removing it.  Sea Grant just completed their annual beach survey on May 8 and now have 22 properties listed.  The plant is not currently listed as invasive in the state of Florida but it has the potential to be.  If you believe you may have this plant and would like advice on how to remove it you can contact Rick O’Connor at roc1@ufl.edu (850-595-0012).  If you would like more information on the biology and the issues this plant may cause read our vitex article found under the MARINE SCIENCE section of this website or contact Rick O’Connor.

Permanent link to this article: https://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu/blog/2014/05/08/the-new-invader-beach-vitex/