Duranta: an attractive shrub for hot, dry gardens

Golden dewdrop is the common name for Duranta, an attractive shrub ideally suited for hot, dry Kona gardens. Its current popularity is partly due to its adaptability to many growing conditions as well as the recent introduction of some interesting varieties.

A member of the Verbenaceae family, Duranta erecta is also known as Duranta repens. The standard variety is a sprawling shrub that produces small, light blue flowers on drooping racemes or panicles of about 6 inches long that are followed by a profusion of golden berries measuring less than 1 inch each.

Local nurseries are currently stocking varieties like Sapphire Showers with intense blue flowers and a new Golden Edge with leaves that have yellow edges. A Golden variety with fully yellow leaves as well as the less common white-flowering Alba may also be available locally. Duranta erecta Variegata with white and green leaves was first brought to Hawaii from Tahiti in 1964 and is now widely available.

In other locations, Duranta is often known as sky flower or pigeon berry, but in Hawaii the genus name is the most popular identifier. The name of the genus honors 15th century Italian botanist, Castor Durantes. The species name, erecta, means upright in Latin and the alternate name, repens, derives from the Latin word for creeping. Both species names as well as the common name, golden dewdrop, describe some of the characteristics of the plant.