Letter to the Editor: The Chaste Tree, though beautiful, may be a risk to our natural habitats

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

To the Editor:

There was an article on Sept. 27th, (See previous article) recommending to add "Chaste tree" to our cities.

My recommendation is different.

With a quick search, using the name of the plant and the word "invasive" and I found this:

lilac chastetree: Vitex agnus-castus ... - Invasive Plant Atlas


Vitex agnus-castus is showing invasive tendencies in areas where it has been planted extensively in landscaping, as in Texas. It can now be found in limestone outcrops and dry creek beds throughout Central Texas. The 'virtues' listed by nurseries and gardeners indicate that the invasive potential for this plant may be high.

Though our soil may be very different than Texas, a plant that will grow 4-6 feet in a season here (as stated in the September article), seems like it might not mind what the Northwest has to offer.

Introduced plants that escape the garden often threaten bio-diversity in our parks and along our waterways. Native Plant Steward Volunteers already have their hands full with Butterfly Bush, Yellow Archangel, Knotweeds, Italian Erum, Vinca, English Holy, English Laurel, Ivies, Black Berries, etc. Please don't introduce more.

Instead, before purchasing and planting... consider the risks and/or do a general search and/or consult our local experts:

Washington Native Plant Society
King Conservation District
King County: Invasives

You might discover some alluring no-risk native plants available for your project.

Ginger Hayra Gunn,
Washington Native Plant Steward and Interpretive Plant Walk Leader


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