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Scaevola taccada

Beach Cabbage, Sea Lettuce, Beach Naupaka

Scaevola taccada


This flowering plant is a common beach shrub throughout the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, reaching all the way to Hawaii. The flowers are white or cream colored, sometimes with purple streaks, and have an irregular shape with all five petals on one side of the flower, making it appear to have been torn in half. The downy leaves are light green, almost succulent, and the fleshy white berries can float in seawater for months before sprouting. It's a large dense shrub growing up to 9 feet in height, but usually kept much lower as a sprawling hedge. It is often used for beach landscaping, to prevent coastal erosion, and to protect other plants from salt spray. Because the Naupaka has this unique half-flower, ancient Hawaiians believed that it was the incarnation of lovers separated. The pleasantly fragrant flowers and corky seeds are sometimes made into Hawaiian leis. In Florida, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and throughout the Caribbean, it has become invasive, pushing out native plants. For this reason, it is not allowed to be shipped to these areas. No frost or cold weather. USDA zones 10 -12. Goodeniaceae

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