Vitex Agnus Castus

(Agnus Castus =”chaste lamb”). This large shrub (or small tree if you prefer), is known in French as the “monk’s pepper tree”. Why? Supposedly the peppery smell of the seed pods was enough to keep the monks “chaste”. It may also be called the Chasteberry or simply Vitex. This tree grows wild on roadsides in this region, but it rarely provides many flowers. To get the flowers shown in this picture, you have to prune the tree back to about 75 cm in height every spring. More about this tree here.

The monk's pepper tree in flower