Life Span: short-lived perennial
Size: Height: 0.5-1 ft Width: 3-4 ft
Noted for: Showy flowers
Recommended Uses: Groundcover or in a meadow.
Propagation: Seeds and cuttings. Lifespan is about 5 years.
Availability: Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales, Seed
Salt Tolerance: Moderately salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand, lime rock
Soil pH Range: Adaptable
Host plant for the tropical buckeye. Attracts pollinators.
Native Habitats: Coastal strand, open areas in dry mesic hardwood forests, sometimes nestled under trees along sandy roadsides.
Distribution and Planting Zones
Map is based on minimum winter temperatures
Suitable to grow in:
Ethnobotany: The name porterweed is a reference to reported medicinal uses. A foaming, porter-like brew, much like beer, is made from at least one species in the Bahamas. The drink is used for fever, for "the cooling of the blood," as a wash for skin irritations, to relieve constipation, and for worms in children. Whether it works or not is open to conjecture. Other local names include "snakeweed," "rat's tail" and "vervain." The generic name is taken from the Greek stachys, meaning "spike," and tarphys, meaning "thick," referring to the thickened flowerspike typical of the genus. (ethnobotanical information provided by Roger Hammer)
Other Comments: This species can be distinguished from related non-natives by its trailing stems and lance-shaped leaves.
Stachytarpheta urticifolia, commonly sold by non-native nurseries, is native to tropical Asia. It has an erect growth habit.