Chaste Tree

Vitex agnus-castus

Chaste tree

The chaste tree is a shrub or small tree native to Europe and Asia but widely naturalized in the American South. It’s known primarily for its showy violet, lavender, blue, pink, or white flowers, which bloom all summer in panicles up to a foot long. Aromatic and attractive to pollinators, the chaste tree can grow 24 inches in a single year. Essential oils in the leaves and fruit can be used as an insect repellent, and medicines for the treatment of reproductive issues in women have been prepared from the fruit, leaves, and stem since ancient Greece. Medieval monks believed that eating the seeds of the chaste tree decreased desire and helped them keep their vows of chastity.

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