in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

while line Back to Plant List

while line Back to Ground Cover

Growing Phyla nodiflora: Turkey Tangle / Frogfruit

social icons Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram

Form: A low-growing, mat-forming herb.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen in regions without freezes.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 2-6" high and 6' wide.
Flowers: Clustered, tiny, white, pink or pale purple flowers surround a purple center of unopened flower buds. Each flower cluster, typically 1/2" in diameter, appears at the end of a long stalk.
Bloom: Any time of year when rains occur in temperatures well above freezing.
Fruit: Tiny nutlets, each containing a single seed.
Leaves: Green to gray-green, somewhat oval, with toothed margins.
Stems: The trailing stems have nodes that develop roots and leaves where moist soil is touched.
Roots: A deep taproot develops at each rooted node.
Cultivars of Note:
    'Kurapia' – a patented, densely growing cultivar with sterile seeds that can be mowed to 1" high and is used as a lawn substitute.
Wildlife: The flowers attract bees, and occasionally, butterflies. It is a caterpillar host plant for some butterfly species. The seeds attract birds. The leaves are grazed by browsing animals.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Northern South America and southern North America.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Moderate.
Sun: Full sun to part shade. Full sun produces the most flowers.
Planting: Locate this plant in full sun to part shade in any area where ground cover is desired. It can be grown in containers and hanging baskets.
Soil: This plant accepts a wide variety of soil types, including pH 5.2-8.2 (strongly acidic to somewhat alkaline). It can handle both dry soil and flooding.
Water after becoming established: Every one to three weeks depending on temperature, rainfall, and desired appearance. Water only monthly in cool weather if it goes dormant.
Mulch: No.
First Year Care: Water once or twice a week for the first two or three months until rapid, dense growth is observed.
Prune: This plant may be mowed to remove flowers. Trim at the edges to keep within bounds.
Litter: Possible frost and drought die-back.
Propagation: Root division, cuttings, seed. This plant can be invasive because of high seed production and rooting at stem nodes.
Uses: Lawn substitute, groundcover, erosion control.

This plant is a member of the Verbena family (Verbenaceae). It is highly variable in the wild and has more than 50 synonyms including Lippia incisa, Lippia nodiflora, and Lippia repens.
The plant you buy at a nursery should ideally have been grown in a climate similar to where you will plant it, especially in regard to temperature range and rainfall.

Do you have additional information or a different experience for this plant that you would like to share?
Email All contributions are welcome and appreciated.

copyright ©
Latest update: May, 2022.

Ghislain118, CC BY-SA 3.0 httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dinesh Valke from Thane, India, CC BY-SA 2.0 httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa2.0, via Wikimedia Commons