Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Vitex trifolia L. var. trifolia

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Fruits. © CSIRO
Fruits. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Chamisso, L.K.A. von (1832) Linnaea 7 : 107.

Common name

Common Blue Vitex; Lagondi; Three Leaflet Vitex; Simpleleaf Chastree; Sangari; Gendavasi


Usually grows into a small tree seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh but also flowers and fruits as a shrub.


Leaflet blades (or leaf blades) about 3-8 x 2-4 cm, almost white on the underside, emitting an odour when crushed, the odour resembling that of marigolds (Tagetes spp.) or calendulas (Calendula spp.). Stalk of the middle leaflet longer than those of the lateral leaflets. Midrib depressed on the upper surface.


Inflorescence about 5-25 cm long, pedicels nil or very short. Calyx obscurely 2-lipped with five small teeth at the apex or almost truncate, tomentose and glandular on the outer surface but glabrous within, about 2-4 x 1.5-3 mm. Corolla pubescent and glandular outside, villous inside the tube, tube nearly twice as long as the calyx, tube nearly cylindrical, about 4-6 x 2-3 mm, wider at the top, lobes about 1-5 mm long. Stamens exserted, filaments filiform, glabrous in the upper part but villous near the base, 3-6 mm long, anther locules divaricate at the base. Ovary globose, gland-dotted in the upper part, glabrous in the lower part, about 1-1.5 mm diam. Style exserted, glabrous, filiform, about 5-8 mm long, stigma shortly bifid.


Fruits globular, about 4-6 mm diam., calyx accrescent, persistent at the base. Seed enclosed in a stone about 4.5 x 3 mm, seeds about 3 x 1 mm. Embryo about 2.5 mm long.


Cotyledons oblong, about 5-10 mm long. First pair of leaves ovate or elliptic. Margin entire or with 1-3 indistinct blunt teeth on each side. Upper surface clothed in very short fleshy hairs visible with a lens. Lower surface with very small honey-coloured glands which are just visible with a lens. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves broadly ovate, apex acute, base rounded, leaflets of trifoliolate leaves +/- elliptic, base cuneate or attenuate, apex acute, upper surface with a few, very short, pale hairs towards the base; petiole, stem and terminal bud densely clothed in very short, pale hairs. Seed germination time 17 to 75 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range quite small, usually found just above sea level. Grows in beach forest. Also occurs in Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Natural History & Notes

Another variety is present in WA, NT and QLD, Vitex trifolia var. subtrisecta (Kuntze) Moldenke.

This species has been used medicinally in Malaysia and Indonesia. Cribb (1981).

Vitex trifolia L., Species Plantarum 2: 638(1753), Type: Habitat in India. Vitex negundo L., Species Plantarum 2: 638(1753), Type: Habitat in India. Vitex petiolaris Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1115(1928), Type: Nordost-Queensland: an der Kaste bei Cairns (DOMIN XII. 1909). Vitex trifolia var. acutifolia Benth., Flora Australiensis 5: 67(1870), Type: Common along the coast of Queensland and appears to be not so strictly maritime as the obovate-leaved form. Vitex trifolia var. bicolor (Willd.) Moldenke, The Known Geographic Distribution of the Members of the Verbenaceae and Avicenniaceae : 79(1942). Vitex triphylla Royle, Illustrations of the Botany and other branches of the Natural History of the Himalayan Mountains and the Flora of Cashmere 1 : 299(1836). Vitex bicolor Willd., Enum. Hort. Berol. 2: 660(1809), Type: Eastern India, Cultivated Botanical Garden Berlin, Herb. Willdenow 11709; holo: Berlin B-W.
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