Frog fruit, cape weed, matchstick plant, fog fruit – what is it?

Frog fruit is a native host plant for Phaon Crescent and Buckeye butterflies.

It is also a nectar plant for many small butterflies.

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It is a native ground cover, often found in ditches and yards.  Several species grow in the US and even into Canada.  

Frog fruit, fog fruit, matchstick plant - Botanical name: Lippia or Phyla
Frog fruit, fog fruit, matchstick plant – Botanical name: Lippia or Phyla

When added to a garden, it can become extremely aggressive.   We recommend growing it in ditches and other areas where its aggressive nature becomes an attractive addition.

Frog fruit grows in water as well as on land.
Frog fruit grows in water and on land.

In dry conditions, it lays close to the ground.  In damp conditions, it may grow to over 12″ in height.

A field of frog fruit
A field of frog fruit
A Buckeye butterfly caterpillar eats frog fruit
A Buckeye butterfly caterpillar eats frog fruit
A cluster of Phaon Crescent butterfly eggs on a frog fruit leaf
A cluster of Phaon Crescent butterfly eggs on a frog fruit leaf

This is a great native plant to add to your collection of butterfly host and nectar plants.  If you cannot find it locally, check out Shady Oak Butterfly Farm as a source for this plant.

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