Vitex agnus-castus

(Photo by Nicole Rutledge)

View the Location on Campus

Taxonomy (1)

Classification: Angiosperm, dicot
Family: Verbenaceae
Common name: Chaste Tree, Chastetree, Monk tree, Hemp tree

General Information (1,2)

Region of Origin: Southern Europe, Western Asia
USDA Plants Hardiness Zones: 6-10
Growth Habit: Shrub or small tree

  • Size: 15-20 feet tall
  • Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
  • Flowering: June-September

Diagnostic Characteristics

Leaves (1)

  • Arrangement: Opposite
  • Simple/Compound: Compound
  • Shape: Lanceolate
  • Other: Pubescent

(Leaflet photo by Nicole Rutledge)


(Photo by Nicole Rutledge)

Flower (1)

  • Color: Lilac to pale violet
  • Inflorescence type: Raceme

Fruit (2)

  • Fruit type: Dry drupe

(Photo by Nicole Rutledge)

Horticultural Information (2,3)

  • Light: Sun to shade
  • Moisture: Moderate to moist
  • Maintenance: Easy to grow
  • Landscape Uses: Specimen tree, mixed with other shrubs
  • Other: Drought resistant, best unpruned

Interesting Facts (2)

  • Fragrant and attracts pollinating bees and hummingbirds.
  • Leaves have medicinal use, and seeds can be used for seasoning.
  • The leaves also bear a striking resemblance to those of the marijuana or hemp (Cannabis spp.) plant. 


1) Dirr, M. (1990). Manual of woody landscape plants: Their identification, ornamental characteristics, culture, propagation and uses (4th ed.). Champaign, Ill.: Stipes Pub..
2) (2004, April 29). Vitex agnus-castus. Floridata. Retrieved March 28, 2013, from
3) Everett, T. H., & New York Botanical Garden. (1980). The New York Botanical Garden illustrated encyclopedia of horticulture. New York: Garland Pub..

Prepared by Nicole Rutledge as a course requirement for BIOL 3630/5630, Spring 2013
Edited by Jessica Bartek