Outstanding foliage tree

Vitex trifolia Purpurea

Does anyone have this exquisite purple-leafed tree? I had one myself until the builders plonked a pile of concrete pavers right on top of it. Truly! Luckily, I took a cutting before the builders turned up because I had a feeling these burly men didn’t care too much for plants. The name of the tree? Arabian lilac, or Vitex trifolia ‘Purpurea’. I haven’t seen it anywhere in New Zealand lately (I bought mine years ago). Just curious if anyone has it.

Photo: Sunset


  1. Hi Jane
    Just saw this (9/04/2013) !! I have this tree in my garden in the Far North. I get so many comments about it. Looks great in a windy spot.

    • Hi Janet. Thanks for your comment. I saw one in a coastal area just north of Auckland. I guess it doesn’t mind the wind, including coastal winds. My cutting is coming along nicely, thankfully. I will find a nice spot in the garden for it soon.

  2. The plant that you are looking for is commonly called Arabian Lilac and the botanical name is Vitex trifolia ‘Purpurea’.

  3. Rachael Tobeck says:

    i’m so excited to find this…. I’m on Waiheke Island…. I’d love to know where I could buy it… I had the V agnes castus for many years but i think it got tired of being moved around… Does anyone know if they interchangeable herbal speaking.. Thanks

    • I have not seen this plant for sale in years, sadly. If you find one in someone’s garden, I would ask them if you can take a cutting. As for the medicinal qualities, no, it is the Vitex angus-castus, a different species, that is the one to use.

  4. Debbie Clarke says:

    My mother, an avid gardener and encyclopaedia of gardening knowledge, passed away 18 months ago. My sister and I have just gone through her nursery of plants, and found this plant! We had no idea what this plant was, so I just googled to find it. So lovely for us to learn we have this rare plant. Now we just need to keep it alive!

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