Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora)
Click on terms for botanical definitions.
Frogfruit is known by many names: turkey tangle fogfruit, capeweed, matchhead, creeping Charlie… Regardless of what you call it, frogfruit is both a versatile and vital wildflower. This evergreen perennial is low-growing and creeping, often forming dense mats of green foliage. Its distinct white and purple flowers are small but very showy, particularly when planted in mass. The flowers are borne on (relatively) long erect stalks, giving the appearance of little matchsticks (hence the common name “matchhead.”) Leaves are elliptic to oval with toothed margins. They are oppositely arranged.
Frogfruit is the host plant for the white peacock (Anartia jatrophae), phaon crescent (Phyciodes phaon), and common buckeye (Junonia coenia) butterflies. It is also a good nectar source for bees and other small butterflies such as hairstreaks.
After disappearing in winter, frogfruit reappears as temperatures warm. It occurs naturally in hammocks, beaches, lawns, and along roadsides.
Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena family)
Native range: Throughout Florida except mainland Monroe County
To see where natural populations of frogfruit have been vouchered, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Soil: Moist to moderately dry sandy, clay or loamy soils
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 2-3”+
Garden tips: Frogfruit makes a great groundcover as it can form dense mats in the right conditions. It also works well in a hanging basket. Because of its high salt tolerance, it is a good plant for Florida’s coastal areas.
Frogfruit plants are often available from nurseries that specialize in Florida native plants. Visit www.PlantRealFlorida.org to find a nursery in your area.