Mayan Garden Club: September Tip




Scaevola Taccada is commonly called beach cabbage, sea lettuce, or naupaka and is a flowering plant found in tropical coastal locations throughout the world.

It is a large bush that can grow about 4 m. in height in sandy or rocky soil.  It is not harmed by salt spray and can grow on rocky shores right on the ocean.  Its leaves are a yellow-green color and are of a succulent nature allowing them to last in the salt air and heat as well as during drought.  The flowers are white and the plant blooms all year. The plant fruit floats in sea water and allows it to propagate.

Beach cabbage is not native to the Yucatan but was brought here.  However, in many areas because of its hardiness and ability to take over areas, it is considered invasive, pushing the native Caribbean Scaevola Plumieri from its native habitat.

The plant is used to stop beach erosion and to block salt spray from the ocean from harming other cultivated plants. It is also a traditional medicine used in India as an anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, and skeletal muscle relaxant.  The leaves of the plant have also been used on islands for famine food.


You can see beach cabbage in Akumal planted along the road near La Buena Vida restaurant, on the beach of Lunita restaurant, and planted in many condo areas.  It is featured widely in island pictures in travel advertisements.  It is also widely planted along highway 307 from Playa del Carmen to Cancun, especially before you get to the airport.

Beach cabbage may be planted in full sun or some shade.  Once established it is drought tolerant.  Propagation is easy by the fruit or by cuttings, which can be placed in a small amount of sandy soil and will root after about a month.  It is recommended as an easy-to-grow and effective plant for beauty and for stopping erosion of beach sand.

More information may be found in this web site also.

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