Vitex [genus] (1,412)
V. agnus-castus (3,335)
Synonyms: Verbena vitex .
V. altissima (905)
V. amboniensis (278)
V. capitata (488)
V. chrysocarpa (218)
V. cofassus (341)
V. coriacea (247)
V. cymosa (390)
V. divaricata (1,073)
V. diversifolia (336)
V. doniana (3,472)
Synonyms: Vitex cienkowskii Kotschy & Peyr.
V. fosteri (331)
V. gaumeri (1,852)
V. glabrata (805)
V. grandifolia (742)
V. hemsleyi (287)
V. keniensis (292)
V. leucoxylon (485)
V. lignum-vitae (474)
V. longisepala (438)
V. lucens (1,372)
Synonyms: Vitex littoralis Decne., Vitex litoralis .
V. micrantha (858)
V. mollis (2,306)
V. mombassae (739)
V. negundo (2,125)
V. oxycuspis (245)
V. parviflora (856)
V. payos (627)
V. peduncularis (417)
V. peralata (281)
V. pinnata (2,310)
Synonyms: Vitex pubescens Vahl
V. polygama (316)
V. pteropoda (442)
V. pyramidata (691)
V. quinata (704)
V. rivularis (236)
V. rotundifolia (2,816)
Synonyms: Vitex trifolia L.
V. rufa (479)
V. siamica (240)
V. strikeri (616)
V. triflora (221)
V. umbrosa (273)
V. vestita (357)



Vitex [genus] L. LAMIACEAE

Worldwide, trop. & subtrop.; 270 spp. Trees & shrubs. Lvs. opp., palmately compound, lfts. 3-5, rarely 1, often darker above than beneath. Fls. white, yellow, red, or blue to purple, cymose, the cymes axillary, or in terminal panicles. Calyx 5-toothed or entire, corolla tubular-funnelform, 5-lobed, slightly 2-lipped, stamens 4. Fruit a small drupe. In Verbenaceae (Hortus Third 1976:1161) 250 spp. Stamens exserted. In Verbenaceae (Griffiths 1994:1209) Some in Madagascar are monocaul pachycauls [? single trunk, v. thick], but the pollen is distinctive. Some with domatia [?] (Mabberley 1997:749) Name from vico, to bind with twigs; so called from the flexible twigs of the Chaste Tree (Brewer 1978 [1894]) Some are commercial timber trees, but many spp. are too small to give timber of usable size. Those large enough to have useful wood are called halban or leban. Small aromatic medicinal spp. are called lenggundi; this name is used all through the Archipelago. Generally speaking, Vitex spp. act as febrifuges, and are widely used for this. However cannot replace quinine [Cinchona, Rubiaceae]. Lvs. are most used; sometimes also roots or fruits. In Verbenaceae (Burkill 1966:Vol. 2 page 2277)


LAMIACEAE Vitex agnus-castus

Vitex agnus-castus L. LAMIACEAE

Synonyms: Verbena vitex .

Common names: Chaste Tree, Hemp Tree, Monk’s Pepper Tree, Sage Tree, Indian Spice, Wild Pepper (Hortus) Agnos castus (Britannica) Abraham’s Balm (OED)

S Eu. Aromatic shrub or small tree to 20 ft. Lfts. 5-7, lanceolate or elliptic to 4″ long, acuminate, nearly entire, v. dark green above, grayish-tomentose beneath. Cymes dense, sessile or nearly so, in panicles to 1 ft. long, fls. lilac to lavender. Nat. in S US, warm parts of the world. Used medicinally and in basketry (Hortus Third 1976:1161) Fls. fragrant, corolla tube to 2.5 cm, white-puberulent (Griffiths 1994:1209) Cult. for ornament. A rheophyte [?]. Twigs sometimes used in basketwork. Fruit a subst. for pepper [Piper, Piperaceae] (Mabberley 1997:749) Some age-old remedies for hot flashes do show estrogen-like props. Do not have the side effects of estrogen-replacement therapy, eg. bloating, weight gain, resumption of monthly menstruation. This sp. has been used to relieve menopause symptoms. In vitro the phytoestrogen bound to estrogen receptors and induced them to divide. It might be unsafe for women with a family history of breast cancer or those who have survived it (Science News 1998:292) Known as Chaste Tree, supposed to dispel love & preserve virtue. Lvs. aromatic, sap said to be poisonous. Much cult. because of the paniculate cymes of bright bluish-purple fls. Not hardy N US (Encyclopedia Americana. 1954:Vitex) Greeks & Romans used the plant internally and for poulticing. Oil contains cineol & other substs. (Burkill 1966:Vol. 2 page 2277) In Eu., branches are used to repel insects in grain stores (Secoy and Smith 1983:47) The Thesmophoria was a Greek womens’ festival, held in Oct. when Proserpina was lost and Demeter went to the underworld to find her. During the festival, the women abstained from intercourse; they strewed their beds with agnos castus & other plants (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1893:Thesmophoria) In the language of fls. it means “insensibility to love”. Dioscorides, Galen, Pliny mention the plant. In France a beverage distilled from the lvs. was given to novices to wean their hearts from earthly affections. The monks, mistaking agnos, chaste, for agnus, a lamb, but knowing the uses of the plant, added castus to explain its character; name means chaste-lamb (Brewer 1978 [1894]) 1676: Abraham’s Baum hath a singular property to procure chastity, for which cause physicians have named it Agnus Castus (Oxford English Dictionary. 1971:Abraham’s Balm). Ricinus [Euphorbiaceae] was formerly confused with this sp. The English name ‘castor oil’ is a corruption of ‘castus oil’ (Martínez 1959:Utiles page 319) Valid species; synonym not in GRIN. (GRIN 2007)

Vitex agnus-castus ‘Alba’

Fls. white. Long considered a symbol of chastity (Mabberley 1997:749)


LAMIACEAE Vitex divaricata

Vitex divaricata Swartz LAMIACEAE

Common names: Fiddlewood (Morton)

W Indies, Venezuela. Shrub or tree to 60 ft. Lfts. 3, rarely 1 or 5, oblong to 8.5″ long, entire, glabrous or a few hairs on midrib. Cymes axillary, fls. violet or blue to 0.2″ across. Wood used to make shingles. Lvs. yield tannin (Hortus Third 1976:1162) Cuba to Venezuela. Tree with bark peeling in long strips. Lvs. deciduous. Fls. fragrant, 6 mm long & wide, downy, borne in loose long-stalked axillary panicles to 15 cm long. Fruit black, obovate to 1 cm long, smooth, cup-like calyx at base. Wet woods, sea level to med. elevations. Fr. W Indies, decoction of branches for gonorrhea. Wood hard, durable. Used in Puerto Rico for cabinetwork, construction. Fls. provide nectar for honeybees (Morton 1981:Vol. 2 page 755) Name not in GRIN (GRIN 2007)


LAMIACEAE Vitex doniana

Vitex doniana Sw. LAMIACEAE

Synonyms: Vitex cienkowskii Kotschy & Peyr.

Common names: Black Plum, Galbije (Dalziel)

Sierra Leone. Tree to 20 m. Lfts. to 15 cm long, coriaceous, obovate. Fls. fragrant, corolla white or yellow to blue-purple, pubescent (Griffiths 1994:1209) A common savanna tree. Locally used for timber (Mabberley 1997:749) Vitex c.: Often planted or retained in villages of trop. Africa for the fruit & for the young leafy shoots which can be used as a pot-herb. Ripe fruit resembles a black plum, sweet & edible. A Fulani proverb: the galbije of the blind man does not ripen. A kind of black molasses is made from them, generally mixed with other fruits, eg. Detarium [Leguminosae], Diospyros [Ebenaceae], etc. Extract pounded pulp in a basket by repeated pouring of water, then concentrate by boiling. Or candied to form alewa, see Cordia abyssinica [Boraginaceae]. S. Leone, regarded as a remedy for A & B avitaminosis assoc. with sores at the corners of mouth & eyes, or even paralysis. Make a beverage from the fruits, similar to that of V. grandifolia. E Sudan, roasted fruits said to be a subst. for tea. Ink made by boiling black fruit & young lvs., dried in the sun or over a fire, to make a thick extract; add gum which has been boiled separately. Some make it from the bark. N Nigeria, bark mixed with the fragrant resin of a Boswellia [Burseraceae] as one method of making ink. In W Ashanti, bark yields a dye for cloth. Young fresh lvs. mixed with groundnuts [Arachis Leguminosae; or perhaps Vigna Leguminosae], salt, pepper, etc. form a food; sold as dinkin ‘dinya; see under Celtis integrifolia [Ulmaceae]. Fruit, and sometimes bark & lvs., given for diarrhea, dysentery. Fr. Guinea, infusion of lvs. given for colds. Decoction of pounded roots for stomach troubles. N Nigeria, Loranthus [Loranthaceae; but prob. here a different mistletoe] growing on this tree is a remedy for leprosy, see also Sapium grahamii [Euphorbiaceae]. Fls. & ripe fruit attract bees; hives commonly put in the branches. Gold Coast N Terr., being planted as a fodder tree. Wood whitish to light brown, turning darker. Med. weight, easily worked, does not polish. Has some resemblance to teak [Tectona, Lamiaceae]. Suitable for furniture, etc. Used locally for boat timbers, ribs, etc, also small canoes, houses, drums, etc. (Dalziel 1948:456) Vitex c.: Fruit said to be a subst. for tea & coffee in trop. Africa (Burkill 1966:Vol. 2 page 2278) Trop. Africa. Fruit is edible, but is inferior to both the sugar [Malpighia, Malpighiaceae] & yellow [Prunus, Rosaceae] plums of the country (Sturtevant 1972 [1919]:598) Vitex c.: Trop. Africa. The sweet olive-shaped fruit is much relished by native of cent. Africa (Sturtevant 1972 [1919]:598) Valid species & syonym (GRIN 2007)


LAMIACEAE Vitex mollis

Vitex mollis HBK LAMIACEAE

Common names: Coyotomate (Martínez)

Baja to Chih., Mor., Oax., Gro. Med. sized tree to 18 m, bark grayish or brown, shredded. Lvs. long-petiolate, lfts. usually 3, oblong, to 12 cm, obtuse at apex, densely velutinous-pilose beneath. Cymes few-fld., axillary, long-pedunculate, densely pilose, corolla 1 cm long, densely sericeous outside. Fruit globose, to 2 cm diam., bluish black. Fruit edible, sold in the markets. Decoction of fruits & lvs. used as a remedy for diarrhea (Standley 1924:1235) Fruit causes an indelible stain. In Jal. the lvs. of this & V. pyramidata put in boiling water, breathe the vapors to combat the asphyxia which results from scorpion stings. In Mor. & Gro. decoction of the stem & lvs. is recommended as a pectoral. Mich., the plant is useful for all poisons, and as an expectorant. Nay., decoction of 12 lvs. to regularize menstruation, taken fasting (Martínez 1959:Medicinales page 403) Tarahumar find the tree sporadic in the western canyons of Chih. Fruit v. refreshing, eaten raw or cooked. Mashed fruit sometimes added to goat’s milk, given to babies that cannot digest their mothers’ milk. Actually few Tarahumar admit they use goat’s milk for any other purpose than making cheese. 18th & 19th cent. records: Tarahumar ate the fruits. Lvs. steeped to make a favorite febrifuge (Pennington 1963) Pima in Son. make a leaf tea for stomach ache. Fruits eaten raw or are used to make a dulce (Pennington 1980) Bluish fruits of uvalama sold in the markets in NW Mexico (Santamaría 1978:Uvalama). Bitter roots of coyotomate used in childbirth. Coyote as an adjective means that which is coyote colored; the name means ‘tomate the color of a coyote’. Sr. Melchor Ocampo says that coyotomate means the same as coscomate, but coscomate is a circular granary, not a tree (Santamaría 1978:Coyotomate) Valid species (GRIN 2007)


LAMIACEAE Vitex negundo

Vitex negundo L. LAMIACEAE

SE Africa, Madagascar, E & SE Asia, Philippines, Guam. Shrub or small tree to 25 ft. Lfts. 3-5, oblong to lanceolate to 4″ long, dark green above, grayish-tomentose beneath. Cymes peduncled, in loose panicles to 8″ long. Fls. lilac or lavender, 0.2″ long, fragrant. Nat. in FL (Hortus Third 1976:1162) Aromatic. Lvs. green-white above, densely pubescent beneath (Griffiths 1994:1210) Indomalaysia. Largely sterile. In Nepal a soil stabilizer (Mabberley 1997:749) A small bush in Malaya, sometimes to 15 ft. elsewhere. Similar to V. trifolia [now V. rotundifolia], used medicinally in various parts of Asia, but V. trifolia is preferred in Malaya; this sp. is more popular in India & China. India, lvs. & roots as tonic, febrifuge. Leaf decoction or juice is in compositions for headache, catarrh, etc. A pillow of the lvs. for headaches. In China fruit much used; Chinese in Malaya import them. Root & lvs. used in infusion & for poultices, as for V. trifolia. Both spp. in high repute in the Philippines for fomentations for rheumatism, beri-beri etc. (Burkill 1966:Vol. 2 page 2279) Erect shrub of Nagaland, NE India. Cult., also wild in secondary forests. Aos boil the lvs. in water, people whose bodies have swollen due to cold cover the whole body with a blanket, inhale the vapor (Rao and Jamir 1982:180) In India lvs. to repel wound flies, grain insects (Secoy and Smith 1983:47) Aromatic lvs. are believed to alleviate headache. A vapor bath is prepared from them for fever, rheumatism. Ashes are much used as an alkali in dyeing (Encyclopedia Americana. 1954:Vitex) In Kwangtung Province, China: Lau 1932: Used for medicine (von Reis and Lipp 1982:255). Valid species (GRIN 2007)


LAMIACEAE Vitex pinnata

Vitex pinnata L.f. LAMIACEAE

Synonyms: Vitex pubescens Vahl

Common names: Milla (Mabberley) Molave, Leban (Burkill)

V. pubescens: SE Asia, Malaysia. Tree of fair size. In Malaya the commonest sp. of the genus, both in open country and in secondary jungle. It persists in lalang. Will grow in rather poor soil if it has full light. Has been mentioned as possible for reclothing old tin workings. Timber of this & V. parviflora is commercial in the Philippines, called molave. This is the leban wood most used in Malaya; it and V. glabrata are the only Malayan members of the genus with commercial timber. Small tree often with a short crooked trunk so it is not possible to get long timbers. Wood hard, heavy, fine-grained. No distinction between heartwood & sapwood, yellowish to grayish, v. durable in contact with ground. The favorite wood in Malaya for plows, other agric. implements. Wood from young trees is not durable, trees should not be cut until they have a girth of 3 ft. Has been mentioned for bridges, house posts, even boats. Would be much more widely used if larger sizes were available. Lvs. & bark medicinal. Bark decoction for stomach ache, and as a protective draught, ubat meroyan, after childbirth. Lvs. for poulticing in fevers, also on wounds. Sumatra, bark scrapings on wounds. Young lvs. crushed in water, drunk for fever & loss of appetite. Fruit also said to be medicinal. Boorsma found an extract to froth, but it did not contain any saponin. Plant said to have protective power, used as a charm against convulsions. Thieves using burning Datura [Solanaceae] to stupefy their victims by the smoke, burn this plant also to obscure the smell (Burkill 1966:Vol. 2 page 2280) Timber for construction. The living tree carries many epiphytic orchids in Malay Penin.; much searched by collectors (Mabberley 1997:749) Valid species & synonym (GRIN 2007)


LAMIACEAE Vitex rotundifolia

Vitex rotundifolia L.f. LAMIACEAE

Synonyms: Vitex trifolia L.

Common names: Wild Pepper Tree (Americana)

V. trifolia: Asia to Australia. Shrub or shrubby tree to 20 ft. Lfts. 1 or 3, oblong to obovate to 3″ long, entire, white-tomentose beneath. Cymes many-fld., in panicles to 9″ long, corolla blue to purple, 2-lipped (Hortus Third 1976:1162). V. trifolia: Panicles terminal, fls. fragrant (Griffiths 1994:1210) V. trifolia: India. Yields a sweet greenish medicinal oil (Encyclopedia Americana. 1954:Vitex) V. trifolia: Mascarene Is. to Polynesia. Shrub on sandy shores; a var. with a horizontal stem gives rise to short erect branches. The shrubby form for hedges. Lvs. much used medicinally, chiefly in poultices. Prob. there is no complaint for which the peoples of Malaya may not use them. May add lime or camphor, vinegar or pepper, or sometimes only rice. Taken as pills also. A tincture or decoction of the lvs. useful in intestinal complaints. Lvs. in medicinal balls in Malaya, Dutch Indies, contain a little alkaloid. Plant used to poultice the swollen trunk of an elephant. Rumpf, branches hung in the house because of the pleasant smell. Folk tale in Malaya: If rice is stirred with a spoon made of the wood of this tree it renews the youth. Malays sometimes powder the lvs., put them in a rice-bin or among clothing to keep away insects. Aroma due to a volatile oil. In Japan twigs had 0.11 to 0.12% oil, and dry lvs. had 0.28%. Chief constituents pinene, camphene. Another distillation made in Java, cineol as well. Malays burn lvs. to drive away mosquitoes, evil spirits. Java, lvs. put in water when rice fields are irrigated to drive away pests (Burkill 1966:Vol. 2 page 2281) V. trifolia: Common in coastal areas of Fiji. Crushed lvs. have a fragrant odor (Parham 1972) In modern Chinese medicine used for flu, (e) colds, sore eyes (Mabberley 1997:749) V. trifolia: Var. ovata from Luzon is among the few ornamental plants that grow well by the sea (Fairchild 1943) V. trifolia: In Samoa Is. Eames 1921: Leaves used for fever medicine (von Reis and Lipp 1982:255). Valid species & synonym (GRIN 2007)



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