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Clerodendrum wallichii Merr. 1952
pronounced: cler-oh-DEN-drum wall-IK-ee-eye
(Lamiaceae – the lavender family)
common names: Nodding Clerodendrum, Wallich’s Glorybower
Clerodendrum comes from two Greek words, κληρος (kléros), fate, or chance, and δενδρον (dendron), a tree; wallichii is for Dr. Nathaniel Wallich (1786–1854), Danish botanist and physician. He spent much of his life in India, and was instrumental in founding what is now the Indian museum, of which he was the first curator. He had a long and distinguished career in the Far East, much of it concerned with things botanical.
Clerodendrum is a large genus of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs, including many woody climbers. Most of them grow wild in tropical and subtropical countries. More than a hundred species have been discovered, but only a few are in cultivation. Clerodendra, often known as Glorybowers, are grown for their pretty flowers and attractive, opposite leaves. They are found wild in four of the five continents, the exception being Europe.
This plant is native to India and Nepal. It is an erect evergreen shrub that grows up to 2 m or so in height. The deep dark green leaves are deeply veined, and up to about 25 cm long, 7.5 cm wide, oblong-lanceolate to obovate, acuminate, the base acute or cuneate, the margin almost entire. The petiole is usually 1 cm long, or a little more. The branches and stems are quite brittle, so it does best in parts of the garden where there is little traffic.
It has attractive, slightly fragrant white flowers in a terminal pendant panicle. The calyx of each flower is a bit more than 1 cm long, 5-lobed, green, often tinged red. The corolla is white or yellowish white, the tube about 1.5 cm long, lobes a little shorter, the exterior glabrous. As with so many Clerodendra, the stamens extrude elegantly. The flowering period is quite short, but during it many pollinators are attracted.
The fruit is also quite striking. The green berries are framed by a star. As the berries ripen, the star turns bright red, while the berries stay green. Compare these with the fruits of the Lolly Bush.
This plant prefers light shade, being a little intolerant of excess heat, and will often suffer in high winds.
Photographs taken in Picnic Bay 2009-2014
Page last updated 27th October 2016