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Beach Naupaka

Scaevola taccada


A dense, spreading shrub that generally grows up to 3 meter in height. The light green leaves are somewhat succulent with a waxy covering and are alternately arranged along the stem. The blades are elongated and rounded at the tips, 5 to 20 cm long and 5 to 7 cm wide and the edges are often curled downward. The flowers are white or cream colored, often with purple streaks, 8 - 12 mm long, and have a pleasant fragrance. They have an irregular shape with all five petals on one side of the flower making it appear to have been torn in half. The flowers grow in small clusters from the leaf axils near the ends of the stems. The fruits of Scaevola taccada are fleshy berries. They are white, oblong, and about 1 cm long. The seeds are beige, corky and ridged. The inside of the fruit is spongy or corky and the fruits are buoyant. They can float for months in the ocean and still germinate after having been in salt water for up to a year. One study showed that the seeds germinated best after 250 days in salt water.


Tom Owens Cay on Belize Barrier Reef.

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Spotted on Oct 15, 2013
Submitted on Oct 25, 2013

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