To those of you who attended Rick O'Connor's nature and environmental talks held at West Florida Public Library branches and around Pensacola, here is information on the invasive plant species about which he talked, 'Vitex'. Websites and contact information are listed below his message.
As some of you may know we have kicked off a campaign identifying locations on Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key where beac vitex may be located. This plant is found in Mobile and Baldwin counties and has become quite invasive along the Atlantic seaboard - particularly South Carolina where they now have a task force to remove it. In Florida it is not listed as invasive at this time. My guess is it because there are so few records here; when we began our search there were only 3 - 2 in Jacksonville and 1 on Pensacola Beach. I was alerted by a Gulf Breeze resident that it was in Gulf Breeze so I developed a "wanted poster" to see how bad it was. This poster led us to another and then to a Pensacola News Journal Article that alerted the community. Since the posting in the PNJ we have now identified 6 more locations on the beach as well as make South Carolina and NE Florida aware we are looking. Records in NE Florida now extend south to Volusia County. Okaloosa/Walton have picked up the campaign and are looking along the panhandle over there. But what about Perdido Key? I have attached a copy of the "wanted poster" we posted on PB and Gulf Breeze. I am not sure how to get the word out to PK residents but I was hoping you had some ideas. If so, let me know and I will pursue them. Let me remind you that it is not listed as invasive in Florida. It is legal to sell and plant here. If residents have it and want to keep it, that is fine. Our message right now is that if you do NOT want it, NOW is the time to remove. The woody rhizomes are aggressive and very difficult/costly to remove once established in the yard.
Check out the following websites if you want to learn more about the problem in the Carolina's. http://www.beachvitex.org/ http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/plants/beachvitex.shtml http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/plants/beachvitex.shtml