Beach Naupaka

(Scaevola sericea)

Beach Naupaka

Beach Naupaka

Also known as Hawaiian Half Flower, Beach Naupaka is a shrubby seaside plant native to the Pacific that is invading Bermuda's beach, sand dune and salt marsh habitats. Beach Naupaka has rounded, smooth-edged, bright green, leathery leaves held on a grey, woody stem. The edges of the leaves frequently curl under and some appear completely rolled up. It has white to slightly purplish flowers with 5 petals which are all on the lower side of the flower, giving it the name 'half flower'. The flowers are followed by round berries about the size of a pea. The berries are at first green, but turn bright white when they are ripe.

Beach Naupaka is very similar in appearance to the native species Beach Lobelia (Scaevola plumieri), which is also found in sand dune habitats along the South Shore. The native species is smaller, the leaves do not curl under at the edge, the stems are reddish and it produces a black fruit. 

Beach Naupaka was introduced to Bermuda as an ornamental plant for use in seaside gardens. It has since escaped into the wild where it is competing with native seashore and salt marsh plants. Beach Naupaka excludes other plants from the habitat where it has become established because it grows taller than many native beach plants and it forms very dense patches with new plants sprouting from fallen fruit. Like many invasive plants, it fruits abundantly. Its seeds float and are transported along the shore by the tide. The fruit are also eaten by birds which spread the seed. Beach Naupaka should be removed whenever possible and never intentionally planted.

Beach Naupaka thicket at Warwick Long Bay

Beach Naupaka thicket at Warwick Long Bay