Duranta erecta: Golden dewdrop

Family: Verbenaceae
Common name: Golden dewdrop, Pigeon berry, Skyflower

Golden dewdrops are a native of Mexico, but is now garden favorites all over the world, because of their glowing greenish-yellow foliage, lavender flowers and globular fruits. They can grow to a height of 6 meters and spreads equally wide. Young leaves are beautiful glowing-yellow in color, turning green as they mature. Golden dewdrop plants are thickly covered with leaves, mature plants also have small thorns.

During flowering season, the plant bursts out in light violet colored flowers in large clusters. Later, the plant produces fruits that are green, then turning yellowish-orange, containing many seeds. Golden dewdrop plants have many cultivars that vary in the color of leaves and flowers; some of them having white flowers. There is a cultivar with variegated leaves having white or deep yellow borders that look very attractive in gardens.

Golden dewdrop plants are sun-lovers growing and blooming best in full sunlight. It’s possible to grow them in the shade too, but with compromised blooming and leaf colors. They can take severe pruning; the plant looking exceptionally pretty with tender yellow leaves after pruning. The thick foliage and thorns make them ideal candidates for hedges and dividers in gardens. These plants can tolerate bad soil conditions and temperatures, though they thrive in warmer climates.

Golden dewdrop plants are considered invasive in some countries due to their capability to withstand bad growing conditions and spread very quickly. The colorful flowers attract butterflies and birds; and the fruits are favorites among birds. These birds help in dispersal of seeds, and spreading of the plants.

Leaves and berries contain toxins and can even kill pets; though birds seem to be able to consume them with no side effects. It is advisable to wear gloves while handling this plant since it can cause skin irritations for some people.

Propagation is from stem cuttings or seeds.

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