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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flower Friday: By whatever name, frogfruit is a delightful garden asset

Photo/Stacey Matrazzo
Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora)   
Frogfruit is known as turkey tangle fogfruit, capeweed, and matchhead. Regardless of what you call it, this short-lived perennial groundcover grows to about 2.5 inches high and has small but very showy white and purple flowers. It is the host plant for the white peacock (Anartia jatrophae), phaon crescent (Phyciodes phaon), and common buckeye (Junonia coenia) butterflies. It is also a good nectar source for hairstreaks.

Family: Verbena (Verbenaceae)
Hardiness: North, Central and South Florida (Zones 8–11)
Soil: Sandy, clay and loam.
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
Growth habit: Opposite leaves, flowers on long stalks that look like matchheads. Short leaf stalk with hairs on top and bottom of blade and stem and serrated leaf margins. After disappearing in winter, frogfruit reappears once temperatures warm. The plant can be propagated through division. It will grow almost everywhere — dry, moist and wet sites.
Garden tips: Frogfruit works great in a hanging basket. Because of its high salt tolerance, it is also a good plant for Florida’s coastal areas.

See where frogfruit occurs naturally.

- Dena Wild


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