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Iva frutescens (Jesuit's bark)
Romfh, Peggy

Iva frutescens

Iva frutescens L.

Jesuit's Bark, High-tide Bush, High-water Shrub, Marsh Elder, Bigleaf Marsh Elder

Asteraceae (Aster Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A succulent, bushy-branched shrub, 2-12 ft. tall with opposite, pubescent, narrowly lance-shaped leaves. Greenish-white flowers occur singly in upper leaf axils.


From the Image Gallery

5 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Subshrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , CT , DE , FL , GA , LA , MA , MD , ME , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , PA , RI , SC , TX , VA
Canada: NS
Native Distribution: Coastal areas from NJ to FL & s.e. TX
Native Habitat: Saline marshes & shores

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist to wet, saline soils.
Conditions Comments: An attractive shrub for wet, salty areas that will support little other vegetation. Requires little to no care but can be pruned and shaped regularly.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds


Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Research Literature

Reslit 398 - Seed flotation and germination of salt marsh plants: The effects of stratification, salinity, and/or inundation regime (2009) T. Elsey-Quirk, B. A. Middleton and C. E. Proffitt
Reslit 397 - Seed Dispersal and Seedling Emergence in a Created and a Natural Salt Marsh on the Gulf of Mexico Coast in Southwest Louisiana, USA (2009) T. Elsey-Quirk, B. A. Middleton and C. E. Proffitt
Reslit 552 - Experimental evidence for factors maintaining plant species diversity in a New England salt marsh (1999) S. D. Hacker and M. D. Bertness
Reslit 633 - Consequences of omnivory for trophic interactions on a salt marsh shrub (2008) C. K. Ho and S. C. Pennings
Reslit 678 - Assessment of a natural wetland for use in wastewater remediation (2005) H. W. Jeng and Y. J. Hong
Reslit 1388 - Growth of the marsh elder Iva frutescens in relation to duration of tidal flooding (2004) G. B. Thursby and M. A. Abdelrhman
Reslit 1506 - Varying stable nitrogen isotope ratios of different coastal marsh plants and their relationships with wastewater nitrogen and land use in New England, USA (2007) C. Wigand, R. A. McKinney, M. L. Cole, G. B. Thurs...
Reslit 1559 - Salinity and the small-scale distribution of three barrier island shrubs (1994) D. R. Young, D. L. Erickson and S. W. Semones
Reslit 1644 - The Effect of the Marsh Elder(Iva Frutescens) on the Standing Crop Biomass of Spartina Patens and Associated Wildlife (1978) J. K. Shisler, T. L. Schulze and B. L. Howes
Reslit 2316 - Morphological and Physiological Consequences of a Positive Plant Interaction (1995) S. D. Hacker and M. D. Bertness

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

USDA: Find Iva frutescens in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Iva frutescens in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Iva frutescens


Record Modified: 2022-12-29
Research By: TWC Staff

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