This attractive scented shrub is in full flower on the Systematic Beds.
The genus Clerodendrum belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae), though until recently was assigned to the Verbena family (Verbenaceae). The genus contains over 400 species, though few are familiar to us, originating from subtropical and tropical Asia and Africa. This one, Clerodendrum trichotomum, is one of only three species hardy in the United Kingdom, though it will only grow in warm locations. It can reach 6m in height and has an open habit, and variable leaves. Younger plants bear larger leaves, and older leaves are ovate to oval and occasionally have toothed margins, while lower leaves may also be lobed, but all emit a a strong aroma when crushed. Attractive, fragrant, white salverform flowers (tubular with flat, spreading terminal petals) with protruding stamens are produced in lax cymes from July into September, and the inflated calyx may easily be mistaken for the seed pod. The pea-sized fruits are initially a bright blue in colour, but age to black, and these sit in the centre of the reflexed calyx, and give rise to the common name harlequin glorybower.