Characteristics of Beach Naupaka Tree (Scaevola taccada) in the Wild

Scaevola taccada
Beach Naupaka or Naupaka Kahakai (Scaevola taccada) is a flowering plant found on tropical coasts in the Indo-Pacific region. It is a tree that grows in the form of a shrub and is common throughout the Arabian Sea, the tropical Indian Ocean as well as tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean.

This tree is often planted as an ornamental plant in homes or villas that are close to the beach because of its low growth and beautiful leaves.

Scaevola taccada is similar to Scaevola plumieri. S. taccada has clear petal lobes and white berries where the petal lobes remain. S. plumieri has short or absent lobes on the petals and the fruit is black when ripe.

In the past, the two were considered to be the same and had a confusing Latin name. But today what is better known is Scaevola taccada and its popular synonym is Lobelia taccada, published by Joseph Gaertner in 1788.

 

Characteristics of Beach Naupaka Leaf

Scaevola taccada Leaf
Source: flickr.com/Forest and Kim Starr

The leaves are thick and fleshy like a succulent, about 20 cm long, crisscrossed, and crowded at the ends of the branches. Green and sometimes yellowish.

 

Characteristics of Beach Naupaka Flower

Scaevola taccada Flower
Source: flickr.com

The flowers are white, bloom all year round and have a fan-like shape.

 

Characteristics of Beach Naupaka Fruit

Scaevola taccada Fruit
Source: flickr.com/翁明毅

Small, white berries.

 

Characteristics of Beach Naupaka Tree

Scaevola taccada Tree
Source: flickr.com/Jupiter Nielsen

The Beach Naupaka tree usually grows on tropical coasts to the top of the reef that is exposed to saltwater spray. It likes sandy soil and is very tolerant of saltwater. In the wild, this tree can grow up to 4 meters tall and become a dense thicket.

Beach Naupaka is sometimes found growing in other plant communities such as coconut trees, soldier bush shrubs, morning glory beaches, beach gardenias, beach pandanus, beach calophyllum, sea almonds, beach hibiscus, etc.

 
How to cultivate Beach Naupaka

This tree is easy to cultivate, it can be from the seeds or cuttings.

 

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