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Beach Vitex (Vitex rotundifolia): An Invasive Coastal Species

  • Matthew M. Cousins (a1), Jeanne Briggs (a1), Chuck Gresham (a2), Jack Whetstone (a2) and Ted Whitwell (a1)...

Beach vitex is a salt-tolerant, perennial, invasive shrub that has naturalized in coastal areas of the southeastern United States. Since its introduction in the 1980s, this Pacific Rim native has invaded many fragile beach-dune ecosystems along the Mid-Atlantic, Southern Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico. Large-scale monocultures of beach vitex supplant native species through rapid vegetative reproduction and seed production. Fruits are capable of water-based dispersal, allowing for potential rapid range expansion in coastal areas. Ecosystem damage resulting from exclusion of native plant species by beach vitex and fears associated with potential negative effects on sea turtle nesting have served to promote the control and survey efforts presently underway in coastal areas of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland.

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Invasive Plant Science and Management
  • ISSN: 1939-7291
  • EISSN: 1939-747X
  • URL: /core/journals/invasive-plant-science-and-management
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