Clerodendrum trichotomum

Clerodendrum trichotomum – Harlequin Glorybower

Clerodendrum trichotomum, commonly known as Harlequin Glorybower, Japanese Clethra, Glorytree, or Peanut Butter Tree, is a captivating deciduous shrub or small tree. It belongs to the Lamiaceae family of plants, which includes a diverse range of aromatic and ornamental species. Native to regions spanning China, Korea, Japan, India, the Philippines, and Taiwan, Clerodendrum trichotomum showcases unique characteristics and a delightful fragrance that sets it apart in the plant kingdom.

Plant Characteristics: Clerodendrum trichotomum exhibits a graceful growth habit, reaching heights of up to 6 meters or 20 feet, making it a prominent presence in the landscape. The leaves of this plant are ovate and covered in fine hairs, lending them a soft texture. When crushed, the leaves emit a distinct fragrance reminiscent of peanut butter, adding an intriguing sensory element to its allure.

Flowers and Fruits: The flowers of Clerodendrum trichotomum are a highlight of its ornamental value. They are fragrant and typically appear in the summer or autumn, arranged in long-stalked cymes or branching peduncles. The individual flowers are white, creating an elegant and ethereal display against the backdrop of lush foliage. As the flowers fade, they give way to showy fruits. The calyx surrounding the fruit transforms from green to a vibrant red, adding a striking visual element to the plant. The berries themselves undergo a captivating color transformation, starting as blue and gradually darkening to a deep, almost black shade.

Clerodendrum trichotomum
The flowers of Clerodendrum trichotomum

Growing Requirements for Clerodendrum trichotomum:

To cultivate and enjoy the beauty of Clerodendrum trichotomum, it is essential to provide the following growing conditions:

Light and Shade: Plant Clerodendrum trichotomum in a location that receives either full sun or partial shade. While it can tolerate shade, it tends to produce the best flowering display when exposed to ample sunlight.

Soil and Moisture: This plant thrives in a humus-rich soil that is well-drained. Ensure that the soil retains moisture without becoming waterlogged. Adding organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, during planting can help improve soil fertility and drainage.

Disease and Pest Resistance: Clerodendrum trichotomum is generally disease-free, making it a low-maintenance plant in terms of disease management. However, it may be susceptible to infestations by spider mites and whiteflies. Regular monitoring and appropriate pest control measures, such as the use of insecticidal soap or neem oil, can help mitigate these issues.

Attraction to Bees: The fragrant flowers of Clerodendrum trichotomum act as a magnet for bees, enhancing the biodiversity and ecological value of your garden.

Propagation: One of the common methods of propagating Clerodendrum trichotomum is through cuttings. Take semi-hardwood cuttings from healthy stems and root them in a well-draining rooting medium. With proper care and favorable conditions, the cuttings will develop roots and grow into new plants.

Clerodendrum trichotomum, with its unique fragrance, beautiful flowers, and attractive fruits, adds an element of charm and elegance to gardens and landscapes. By providing the ideal growing conditions and occasional maintenance, you can enjoy the alluring presence of this remarkable plant and create a captivating haven for bees and other pollinators.

Clerodendrum trichotomum
Clerodendrum trichotomum at the Potter’s Field Park in London.
Clerodendrum trichotomum
Colorful berries of Clerodendrum trichotomum

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