Vitex agnus-castus L. - Lilac chaste-tree, Avraam tree.

Taxonomic position.

Family: Verbenaceae J.St.-Hil.; genus: Vitex L.

Morphology and biology.

Perennial grey-coloured small tree or bush, up to 1,5 m in height. Appressed hairs richly cover all plant. Branches are four-acied, brown. Leaves are opposite, on stalks 1,5-4 cm, consist from 5-7 narrow-lanceolate leaflets, entire or serrate, leaflets are 2-10 cm in length, 0,4-2 cm in width, from above - green, from below - are rich haired, greish. The basis of leaflets is narrowed into short stalks. Flowers are numerous, gathered into compressed axillary dichasiums, which are collected into rich faltering panicle-spiked inflorescence. An inflorescence is 7-15 cm in length, 2-2,5 cm in width. Bracts are oblong, small, 1,5 mm in length, 0, 3 mm in width. Campanulate calyx is three times shorter, than a carolla, calyx denticles are triangular. A carolla is lilac, 8-9 mm in length, bilabiate, an upper lip biincised, 1,8 mm in length, bottom is threeincised, an average share is 3 mm in length and width, is larger, than lateral ones (2 mm in length and width). Tube of a carolla is little bit inflated, naked, 6 mm in length, 4 mm in width. There are 4 stamens, long, acting from a nimbus. Gynaecium is ovare, small, 1 mm in length, 1 mm in width, a column is long, 7 times longer than gynaecium. Fruits - stone fruits (drupe), are 3-3,5 mm in length, 1,5 mm in width, spherical, black. Blossoms in June, July, fructifies in August.


The common distribution: Western and East Mediterranean, Balkany-Asia Minor and Armenian-Kurdishregions, Iran. In territory of the former USSR: the European part - Crimea, Black Sea Coast; Caucasus - the Western, East and Southern Transcaucasia; Central Asia - Kara-Kumy, Syr-Darya regions, Mountain Turkmenistan, Pamir-Alai.


On coast of the rivers and irrigation ditchs, frequently in culture.

Use and economic value.

It is cultivated as an ornamental plant. Seeds have spiciness and can be used as substitutes of fragrant pepper. Leaves contain up to 118 mg of % of vitamin C.


Areas of trees and bushes of the USSR, 1986. Vol. 3. Sokolov S.J., Svjazeva, O.A. (ed.). - Leningrad: Nauka. P. 128. (in Russian).
Cherepanov, S.K. 1995. Plantae Vasculares Rossicae et Civitatum Collimitanearum (in limicis USSR olim). St-Petersburg, "Mir I Semia", 990 p. (in Russian).
Flora USSR, 1953. Vol. XIX, Shishkin B.K. (ed.) - M.-L.: Publishing House of Acad. Science, p. 698-699. (in Russian).
Wulf, V.V., Maleeva, O.F. 1969. The World Resources of the Useful Plants. Leningrad: Nauka, p. 362. (in Russian).

© Smekalova, T.N.


Web design —
Kelnik studios