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Notable for flower form: blossoms are fan shaped, 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 pots.

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. FromAustralia. Variable. Some formsare prostrate, others upright to2 1/2 ft.; fleshy stems of somespread to 3 ft. wide, while thoseof others trail or sprawl to twicethat width. Bright green, 1 1/2–2-in.-long leaves; lavender-blue,1 1/2-in. flowers all along thebranches. Species availablemainly through its named varieties,with flowers in variousshades. ‘Blue Fan’ and ‘Blue Ribbon’ grow about 1 ft. highand slightly less wide. ‘FairyBlue’ and ‘Fairy White’ growabout 10 in. high and 2 ft. wide,as do ‘New Wonder’ (blue),‘Whirlwind Blue’, and ‘WhirlwindWhite’. ‘Top Pot Blue’ and ‘TopPot White’ grow 1 ft. high and3–5 ft. wide, while ‘Top PotPink’ grows just 3 ft. wide.

Scaevola taccada

Hawaiian native. Thick-stemmed plant 6 to 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, salt spray. Useful as hedge plant or windbreak, especially at the beach.

Scaevola ‘Mauve Clusters’
Scaevola ‘Mauve Clusters’

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'Mauve Clusters'

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

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