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Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Phyla nodiflora

Phyla nodiflora (L.) Greene

Texas Frogfruit, Turkey Tangle Fogfruit, Frogfruit

Verbenaceae (Verbena Family)

Synonym(s): Lippia incisa, Lippia nodiflora, Lippia nodiflora var. reptans, Lippia reptans, Phyla incisa, Phyla nodiflora var. incisa, Phyla nodiflora var. longifolia, Phyla nodiflora var. nodiflora, Phyla nodiflora var. repens, Phyla nodiflora var. reptans, Phyla nodiflora var. rosea

USDA Symbol: phno2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), PR (N), VI (N)

Texas Frogfruit can be used as an excellent ground cover and is evergreen in warm years. It is also evergreen in areas protected from frost. It spreads vigorously. Frogfruit generally is a good nectar plant for butterflies. It is an attractive plant rambling over boulders or the edges of hanging baskets. It also can tolerate drought and flooding.

This species is a member of the verbena family (family Verbenaceae), which includes about 75 genera and 3,000 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees, mostly of tropical and warm temperate regions. Among them, teak is a highly prized furniture wood, and Vervain, Lantana, Lippia or Frog Fruit, and Chase Tree or Vitex are grown as ornamentals.


From the Image Gallery

61 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Semi-evergreen
Fruit Type: Schizocarp
Size Notes: Up to about 6 inches tall.
Leaf: Green, with reddish or purplish tinge in cold winters.
Fruit: Separates into 2 nutlets.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: White to pink or reddish.


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CA , FL , GA , HI , KS , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NM , NV , OK , OR , PA , SC , TX , UT , VA
Native Distribution: Southern half of the US to the tropics.
Native Habitat: Anywhere from ditches and roadways to beaches and fields.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sand, loam, clay, caliche, limestone. Poor drainage and saline soils okay.
Conditions Comments: Tolerates drought and flooding. Will go dormant during hard winters.


Use Ornamental: A great groundcover for full sun and part shade areas, with trailing foliage and charming, mini-verbena-like flowers. Would also do well as a pot plant.
Use Wildlife: Attracts numerous insect pollinators.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Phaon Crescentspot, Buckeye, and White Peacock butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Phaon Crescent
(Phyciodes phaon)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
White Peacock
(Anartia jatrophae)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Propagation Material: Root Division
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Water in dry areas or seasons to maintain a solid cover. Do not mow while blooming, as it can take years to recover.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native grasses for East Texas that require no mowing or watering
June 16, 2010
What native grass can I grow in deep East Texas that would require no supplemental watering and no mowing?
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for shade in Dallas
November 30, 2008
What native grasses can be grown under large Live Oaks in the Dallas Area? The combination of shade and black gumbo soil seem to keep all plant life, except for poison ivy and ferns, out. I would lo...
view the full question and answer

Native ground cover to replace grass in Florida.
February 04, 2008
Where can I find a list of ground covers to replace my grass. I live in the south of Ocala Florida.
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for trails in Northeast Texas
January 09, 2008
I have several acres of wooded land in Northeast Texas, Southern Lamar County. Both sandy and black land. I have created trails through the woods and would like to plant a native ground cover or gras...
view the full question and answer

Sedges and ornamentals for shade in Bastrop County
June 20, 2007
I bought a home in Elgin, TX that was owned by an elderly woman. Most of the lawn is shaded by elm or pecan trees. In the sunny areas, i got native wildflowers to grow like lantana and coneflower,...
view the full question and answer

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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Naval Air Station Kingsville - Kingsville, TX
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0612 Collected May 30, 1992 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0535 Collected Jul 28, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0405 Collected Jun 6, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
NPSOT 0179 Collected May 15, 1991 in Bexar County by Judith C. Berry
NPSOT 0676 Collected Jul 18, 1992 in Bandera County by Harry Cliffe

5 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1971 Collected 2018-10-15 in Hays County by

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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