This lovely shrub is blooming right now in southwest Florida. Once thought to be native to the Florida Keys, this status is questionable and newer references label it as a probable introduced ornamental. I bought this plant years ago to attract birds, bees, and butterflies, and to add it to my other native plantings. Oh well…the birds do like the berries, and a mockingbird nested there earlier this year. The foliage is very dense now, and the older woody branches develop thorns in the leaf axils; a perfect hideaway for birds!
The Duranta part of the scientific name refers to an Italian physician of the 16th century, Castor Durante, who also studied botany and published herbals. The species name repens means “spreading.” It does have beautifully spreading and arching branches; it’s a very graceful plant. As I browse the web further to learn more, I’m a bit saddened to see that it’s become an invasive exotic in Australia.
Click on the image to go to my Flickr photostream in order to see it larger.
~ Elizabeth Smith
Naples, Florida, USA