Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees and shrubs in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group.
Family: Lamiaceae
Clerodendrum trichotomum var. fargesii (Dode)Rehder
Clerodendrum (sometimes incorrectly Clerodendron)

54o 34.993N
5o 55.941W
Clerodendrum is a fairly large genus of mostly tropical plants, some trees and shrubs and some climbers. The genus is in the Labiatae family and so is, perhaps surprisingly, closely related to the genus Ajuga. Clerodendrum trichotomum, native to China and Japan, is one of the few members of the genus from temperate climates. It will form a small tree up to 8m or often a many-stemmed shrub.
The leaves are large, heart shaped and have a distinctive smell - variously described as acrid, potato-scented or, simply, revolting.
The flowers on the other hand are sweetly scented and it is usually for these that the shrub is grown in gardens. The flowers are white with red calyces and are followed by striking blue berries which contrast with the calyces which remain until the fruit are shed.
Clerodendrum needs a fairly sheltered and sunny situation and benefits from a peaty soil. It usually produces numerous suckers from which it can be propagated.

Clerodendrum in Belfast Botanic Gardens Clerodendrum leaves in Belfast Botanic Gardens
Clerodenrdum trichotomum beside the East Walk in Belfast Botanic Gardens Clerodendrum trichotomum leaves
flowers of Clerodendrum Flower of Clerodendrum
Flowering branches of Clerodendrum trichotomum Flowers of Clerodendrum trichotomum

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2016. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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