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Sea-lavender, Sea-rosemary
Tournefortia gnaphalodes

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

General Landscape Uses: An excellent specimen or accent shrub in open coastal areas or directly on beach dunes.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A somewhat rare element of beach dunes and coastal strand. Probably rarer now than historically due to coastal development and erosion. Massive numbers of plants may recruit following storms if seed sources are present.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida. Available in Boynton Beach at Native Choice Nursery (561-756-4370).

Description: Medium shrub forming a large roundish mound. Leaves slender, thick, hairy, grayish, about 1 1/2-4 1/2 inches long.

Dimensions: Typically 3-6 feet in height. As broad as tall or broader.

Growth Rate: Moderate to slow when older, but can grow fast when young.

Range: Monroe County Keys north along the east coast to Brevard County; Bermuda, West Indies, southern Mexico and Central America.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Beach dunes and coastal thickets.

Soils: Moist, well-drained, sandy or limestone soils, without humus.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Frontline; grows in direct salt wind but away from constant salt spray.

Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun.

Flower Color: White turning lavender.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy one-sided curled spikes.

Flowering Season: All year; peak winter-peak.

Fruit: Black or brown drupe enclosed in a corky head about 1/4" long. All year. The corky fruits allow for wide dispersal by water.

Wildlife and Ecology: Nectar plant for Miami blue (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri) and other butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seeds, cuttings and ground layers. Seeds sprout well but will be attacked by fungi if kept too wet. Growth at first is rapid.

References: A Gardener's Guide to Florida's Native Plants

Comments: A beautiful shrub for oceanfront gardens, but susceptible to diseases inland. It is listed as endangered by the state of Florida. Horticultural synonyms: Heliotropium gnaphalodes. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Kristen Finch
in cultivation, Palm Beach County, Florida

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Ecohorizons

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Tournefortia gnaphalodes available from:

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