Chaste Tree, Chasteberry Tree, Monk's Pepper, Lilac Chastetree, Abraham's balm
- Main interest:
- showy flower, fragrant, medicinal uses
- full sun
- Soil humidity:
- moist soil; well drained
- Flower colour:
- Flowering period:
- July to August
- USDA Hardiness:
- zone 6a: -23.5 °C (-10 °F) View Zone Map
- Mature height & width (max.):
- height: 10 ft (3 m) width: 8 ft (2.4 m)
- specimen, container, hedge/screen, pollinator garden
Grown for its delicate-textured aromatic foliage and spikes of fragrant lavender flowers, Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus) blooms from July to August. Considered a shrub or small tree, they grow 7 to 10 feet (2.1 to 3 m.) tall and wide. Prune annually to control the shape and size, and encourage branching. Remove the flower spikes when the blossoms fade, to encourage late season re-blooming.
Its pretty blue-violet flowers ripen into brown circular fruits in late summer. The fruits from one single tree can be harvested for more than 15 years.
The Chaste tree is also known as Chasteberry Tree, Monk's Pepper, Lilac Chastetree, and Abraham's balm.
Chasteberry has an interesting culinary and medicinal profile. Its tiny herbaceous fruits are used as a pepper substitute, and leaves that are used as a spice. The leaves, tender stems, flowers and ripening seeds are all harvested for alternative medicines. Flavonoids, alkaloids, essential oils, fatty oils, diterpenoids and steroids have all been identified in the chemical analysis of Vitex agnus-castus fruits and leaves.
Hardy to −23 °C (−9 °F), or Zone 6a, and very heat tolerant Monk's Pepper needs well-drained soil, and does very well in areas where water is scarce, once established. It requires full sun and will tolerate some shade. Butterflies and bees are attracted to its flowers’ nectar.
Also known as: Lilac Chaste Tree, Chaste Berry, Tree of Chastity, Abraham's bush, Queensland Lignum-vitae