East Africa to India, Southest Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands.
Promoted in the early 1980s for use in beach stabilization projects- now discouraged (P. Flood, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 1995 personal communication). Has escaped and bekmce established on many south Florida beach dunes, coastal berms, coastal rock barrens, coastal strands, along saline shores, and in coastal hammocks (Nelson 1996). Appears to be supplanting native coastal vegatation in some Florida areas (Nellis 1994). Has begun to displace rare native beach plants, such as the inkberry, S. plumieri, and the Florida endangered sea lavender, Tournefortia gnaphalodes (L.). Listed as a category I invasive species by Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC) and as a a Noxious weed by Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.
Large, bushy shrub to 5 m (16 ft) tall, often forming dense hemispherical mounds. Leaves simple, closely alternate, crowded at stem tips. Blades are thick, shiny green, wider near tips, to 21 cm (8.3 in) long, glabrous to hairy on both sides, margins revolute, light green becoming yellow with age. Leaf axils with trufts of pale hair. Flowers white to pale lilac, several in short clusters at leaf axils; 5 petals, partially fused, split to base on upper side so that petal lobes spread fanlike into a lower lip. Fruit a fleshy, subspherical drupe, green then white, 8-12 mm (0.3- 0.5 in) long, with sepal lobes persistent at tip.
Often confused with the threatened Florida native half-flower, or inkberry, Scaevola plumieri (L.) Vahl, but its leaves shorter (to 10 cm, or 4 in, long), more succulent, with margins entire- and its mature fruit black, not white.
A recent introduction, probably from Hawaii. Not mentioned in earlier works on Florida, but noted by Bailey and Bailey (1976) as occasionally planted in south Florida. Reported as escaped from cultivation in Lee County in 1982 (Wunderlin).
May be found in central and southern counties of Florida. Often found on seashores, sandy sites behind the shore, and on rocky shoreside cliffs, often forming dense thickets.
Do not plant. Remove root systems and seedlings.