Stachytarpheta jamaicensis

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Stachytarpheta jamaicensis
Stac jama.jpg
Photo by Wayne Matchett,
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Lamiales
Family: Verbenaceae
Genus: Stachytarpheta
Species: S. jamaicensis
Binomial name
Stachytarpheta jamaicensis
(L.) Vahl
Stac jama dist.jpg
Natural range of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Light-blue snakeweed, Blue porterweed, Joee

Taxonomic notes

Synonym: Valerianoides jamaicensis (Linnaeus) Kuntze

Stachytarpheta comes from the Greek words: stachys meaning spike and tarphys meaning thick or dense, which both refer to the dense flower spike. The specific epithet refers to the species origin: Jamaica.[1]


S. jamaicensis is a small, sprawling perennial shrub whose younger stems are green or purplish in color, glabrous, and square. The blue or pink flowers are borne terminally on long, stringy spikes at the end of the stems. Leaves are opposite, simple, serrated, and ovate. Fruits are inconspicuous.[2][3]


This species is native to south Florida, the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, and Mexico.[4] It has become naturalized in Africa, Madagascar, tropical Asia, and northern and eastern Australia.[2]



S. jamaicensis grows on dunes, shell middens, pine rocklands, and disturbed sites.[4] It will grow in calcareous, acidic, alkaline, sandy, loamy and clay soils.[3][5]


Numerous flowers are arranged on long, curved thick spikes.[2] Flowers all year, but less from December through February.[4]

Seed dispersal

Seeds can be spread by animals, clothing, vehicles, and contaminated agricultural produce.[2]


Bees such as Bombus pennsylvanicus (family Apidae) were observed visiting flowers of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis at the Archbold Biological Station:[6]

Herbivory and toxicology

It is a food of death's head hawkmoths.[7] It is a larval host plant for the tropical buckeye caterpillar and a nectar source for Gulf fritillary and monarch butterflies.[4]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. [[1]]Eat the Weeds. Accessed: March 17, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 [[2]]Weeds of Australia. Accessed: March 16, 2016
  3. 3.0 3.1 [[3]]University of Florida Extension. Accessed: March 17, 2016
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 [[4]]Lee County Extension. Accessed: March 16, 2016
  5. Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: November 2015. Collectors: Robert K. Godfrey. States and Counties: Florida: Monroe. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  6. Deyrup, M.A. and N.D. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.
  7. [[5]]Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed: March 17, 2016