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Scaevola

Goodeniaceae
Perennials

Notable for its fan-shaped blossoms, with all the segments on one side. Named for the Roman hero Mutius Scaevola, who burned off one of his hands to prove his bravery. Most are native to Australia, but some are beach plants from Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Caribbean. The Australian species are evergreen in mild-winter climates and nearly everblooming as well. In colder regions, where they are often grown as annuals, they bloom from late spring until frost and are useful in hanging baskets, window boxes, and containers.

Scaevola aemula ‘New Wonder’ (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Scaevola aemula ‘New Wonder’ (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Scaevola aemula

Perennial. From Australia. Variable. Some forms are prostrate, others upright to 2 1/2 ft.; fleshy stems of some spread to 3 ft. wide, while those of others trail or sprawl to twice that width. Bright green, 1 1/2–2-in.-long leaves; lavender-blue, 1 1/2-in. flowers all along the branches. Species is available mainly through its named varieties, with flowers in various shades. ‘Blue Fan’ and ‘Blue Ribbon’ grow about 1 ft. high and slightly less wide. ‘Fairy Blue’ and ‘Fairy White’ grow about 10 in. high and 2 ft. wide, as do ‘New Wonder’ (blue), ‘Whirlwind Blue’, and ‘Whirlwind White’. ‘Top Pot Blue’ and ‘Top Pot White’ grow 1 ft. high and 3–5 ft. wide, while ‘Top Pot Pink’ grows just 3 ft. wide.

Scaevola taccada

Hawaiian native. Thick-stemmed plant to 6–10 ft. tall and broad. Fleshy light green leaves to 6 in. long and nearly as wide are clustered near branch ends. Flowers are 3/4 in. wide, white with purple markings; followed by fleshy white fruits. Tolerates heat, wind, and salt spray. Useful as a hedge plant or windbreak, especially at the beach.

Scaevola ‘Mauve Clusters’
Scaevola ‘Mauve Clusters’

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‘Mauve Clusters’

Forms a mat to 4–6 in. high, eventually spreading to 3–5 ft. across. Half-inch-wide flowers are lilac-tinged mauve. Often grown as a groundcover (set plants 2 ft. apart).

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