Stachytarpheta jamaicensis

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Blue Porterweed, Joee


Plant Specifics

Size:0.5-1 ft tall by 3-4 ft wide
Life Span:Short-lived perennial
Flower Color:Blue,purple
Fruit Color:NA
Phenology:Evergreen. Blooms more-or-less all year.
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
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Tolerant of occasional/brief inundation such as can occur in storm surges.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Moderate. Tolerant of salty wind and may get some salt spray. Exposure to salt spray would be uncommon (major storms).
Soil or other substrate:Lime rock, Sand
Soil pH:Adaptable



Attracts  hummingbirds.


Larval host for tropical buckeye (Junonia genoveva) butterfly. 

Nectar plant for many butterflies and moths including: Bahamian swallowtail (Papilio andraemon), clouded skipper (Lerema accius), Cuban crescent (Phyciodes frisia), Dorantes longtail (Urbanus dorantes), fiery skipper (Hylephila phyleus), great southern white (Ascia monuste), gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae), julia (Dryas iulia), large orange sulphur (Phoebis agarithe), little yellow (Eurema lisa), long-tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus), lyside skipper (Kricogonia lyside), Meske's skipper (Hesperia meskei), Palatka skipper (Euphyes pilatka), red admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Schaus' swallowtail (Papilio aristodemus ponceanus), swarthy skipper (Nastra lherminier), tropical checkered-skipper (Pyrgus oileus) and variegated fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) (IRC)

Used by bees including Bombus pensylvanicus (Deyrup et al. 2002).

Native Habitats:Coastal strand, open areas in dry mesic hardwood forests, sometimes nestled under trees along sandy roadsides.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


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)
General 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.