Clerodendrum (Clerodendrum) is a genus of tropical perennials from the Lamiaceae family, among which there are various plant forms: herbs, creepers , shrubs, shrubs and trees. Some flowering species are grown as ornamental plants, including indoor culture and greenhouses.
- Family: Lamiaceae.
- Homeland: tropics of Asia and Africa.
- Rhizome: Roots are strong but fragile.
- Stem: erect or curly.
- Leaves: simple, opposite or whorled.
- Fruit: drupe.
- Reproductive capacity: propagated by division, cuttings, root cuttings or seeds.
- Light : bright light without direct sun.
- Watering: plentiful in summer, limited or moderate in winter.
- Content temperature: in summer 18-25 °С, in winter 15-18 °С.
- Flowering time: spring, summer or autumn depending on the species.
Clerodendrum flower: photo and description
Most representatives of the genus are evergreen or deciduous lianas, shrubs and small trees from 1 to 12 m high, with large, bright green leaves arranged oppositely or in whorls of three. The size of the leaves ranges from 5 to 20 cm, the shape is usually heart-shaped, the surface of the leaf blades is uneven, with clearly visible convex veins, the edge is solid or serrated. All clerodendrums are plants with flexible, but quickly woody shoots, some of them are characterized by hollow trunks, which are often populated by ant colonies.
Clerodendrum flowers are quite large, up to 2-3 cm in diameter, collected in apical, paniculate or corymbose inflorescences of 4-20 pieces. Many species have an intense aroma, also inherent in the leaves, and each of them smells in its own way, unlike the others.
The clerodendrum flower is distinguished by its original shape, mostly resembling a butterfly, sometimes an exotic bouquet. Its color can be white, red, pink, yellow, blue. The calyx is bell-shaped, with five sepals, usually fused below, the corolla is tubular, cylindrical, also with five lobes, often unequal in size. The stamens protrude far beyond the corolla, there are usually four, rarely five, with one pair much longer than the second. As a rule, the calyx and corolla are colored in contrast, which makes the plant even brighter and more elegant. Below are photos of clerodendrum flowers of some species common in culture.
The culture is distinguished by abundant and long flowering, which can occur in winter and spring (brilliant clerodendrum), last all summer, from June to September (the most beautiful clerodendrum), or spring, from March to June (Thompson clerodendrum). Some varieties, with good care, can bloom all year round (scented clerodendrum).
In all representatives of the genus, the fruit is a berry-like four-celled drupe, in which four or two seeds are formed.
The tropical regions of the African continent and South Asia are considered to be the birthplace of culture, where most types of clerodendrum grow, however, some of its representatives also live in the tropics of America, are found in northern Australia, and some few varieties can be found even in the temperate zone of East Asia.
The name of the plant comes from two Greek words, “kleros” and “dendrum”, it can literally be translated as “tree of fate”. It is believed that the culture owes its name to a Javanese legend, according to which it brings happiness to its owner. In floricultural literature, clerodendrum is also known as clerodendron and volcameria, and among the people it is often called “innocent love”, obviously for the unusual shape of flowers and abundant, long flowering.
The decorative qualities of culture were highly valued even in antiquity. The ancient Romans dedicated the clerodendrum to the goddess of love Venus, during the holidays they decorated temples and dwellings with flowers. In Europe, these tropical plants began to be grown in rooms and greenhouses in the 19th century. Several types were used, mostly curly, which made it possible to create spectacular vertical walls and curtains. Recently, the range of cultivated species has expanded significantly and includes not only lianas, but also a number of shrubs. Below are a few photos of clerodendrums illustrating the use of culture in interior design.
Ornamental plant species klerodendrum
The genus Clerodendrum includes up to 400 different species. Many of them are characterized by abundant and long flowering; in countries with a warm climate, individual bush varieties are grown as ornamental horticultural crops; in regions of the temperate climate zone, they are used as greenhouse and houseplants. Below are descriptions and photos of the types of clerodendrum common in home floriculture.
Clerodendrum Thomson (C. thomsoniae) – most often used as an indoor flower, it grows naturally in the tropical forests of Guinea, Congo and Nigeria. Its discoverer, the Scottish missionary George Thomson, collected African plants in the mid-19th century for shipment to the British Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The plant is believed to be named after the missionary’s wife, which is why it is commonly referred to as “Mistress Thomson’s Clerodendrum”.
It is a climbing shrub, thin flexible shoots of which in open ground reach a length of 4 m, in closed ground they can grow up to 2.5 m. Large flowers with a white bell-shaped calyx and a bright red tubular corolla, collected in numerous axillary or apical paniculate inflorescences , appear in March-July, and again in autumn. After the corolla wilts, the calyx remains on the flower for a long time, acquiring a lilac tint. For the original heart-shaped shape with a red droplet at the end, the plant is often called the “bleeding heart” by the people. The culture is distinguished not only by long abundant flowering, but also by decorative leaves, large, up to 12 cm, bright green, shiny. Leaf blades are oblong-pointed, with a wrinkled surface and pronounced veins, covered with light or dark spots. There are varieties with yellow-green foliage. The plant has a pronounced dormant period with a cool (about 10 ° C) content. It is grown in an ampelous form, with the help of pruning it can be formed in the form of a bush.
Clerodendrum the most beautiful
Clerodendrum is the most beautiful or Javan (C. speciosissimum) is found on the Sunda and other islands in the southeast Pacific Ocean. This evergreen shrub in nature grows up to 3 m, at home – up to 70-100 cm. Large, bright green, pubescent heart-shaped leaves are oppositely located on its tetrahedral shoots, the long petioles of which have a dull red tint.
The culture is characterized by abundant and long flowering, starting in summer and lasting until the middle or even the end of autumn. The flowers are irregularly shaped, bright red, with long stamens, collected in paniculate apical inflorescences. The color of the corolla is somewhat darker than that of the calyx. The peculiarities of the plant include unpretentiousness and the fact that it does not need a winter dormant period with a low temperature.
Clerodendrum Philippine or fragrant (C. philippinum, C. Fragrans) – undersized, up to 1-2 m, shrub with pubescent shoots and large, wide velvety leaves, serrated along the edge. It grows wild in China and Japan. Its large, up to 8 cm in diameter, white flowers with a pink tint are collected in corymbose apical inflorescences, resembling bunches up to 20 cm in diameter.
This is one of the fragrant types of clerodendrum, its flowers are distinguished by a delicate violet-citrus aroma, especially noticeable at night and in the morning. At home, with sufficient lighting, the plant can bloom for a long time, almost all year round. It grows quickly, does not require complex care, does without a dormant period, and easily reproduces by processes that form around the main trunk. Poorly tolerates excess moisture and direct sunlight. There is a form with double flowers.
Ugandan Clerodendrum (C. ugandense) is a rather rare species in rooms, which, nevertheless, has many advantages. This liana-like shrub is tolerant of a lack of moisture, with regular watering it can grow even in the open sun, unlike most home clerodendrums, it reproduces very easily.
Abundant flowering begins in summer and can last until the end of autumn. The unusual color and shape of the flower makes it look like an exotic butterfly, for which the culture is popularly called the “blue butterfly”. The size of the flower is 2-2.5 cm in diameter, its four upper and side petals are blue, the fifth, lower, purple or blue, long curved stamens, resembling butterfly antennae, are also blue. Loose, branching few-flowered inflorescences are formed on the tops of the stems, in rooms their length is about 20 cm, in greenhouses it can reach 30-45 cm. The natural habitat of the species is the mountain forests of Uganda. Thin shoots, covered with broadly lanceolate or narrowly ovate leaves, can grow up to 2-3 m in open ground within a few months. The plant looks good in greenhouses and spacious rooms, where there is enough space for its development. In room conditions, it needs regular pruning, which must be started very early in order to form a compact, beautifully shaped bush. Pruning is carried out immediately after flowering.
Wallich’s Clerodendrum (C. wallichiana) is an exclusively decorative species originating from the mountainous regions of India, Nepal, and South China with a pronounced subtropical climate.
It is named after the Danish botanist and Indian flora researcher Nathaniel Wallich, who served as manager of the Calcutta Botanical Gardens in 1817-1842. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree with hanging shoots, glossy, slightly wavy along the edge, lanceolate leaves up to 15 cm long and lush inflorescences of fragrant white flowers, collected in long, falling, racemose inflorescences. In nature, the bush can grow up to 2-4 m, at home it does not exceed 50 cm.
The culture is usually grown in ampelous form, its thin, hanging shoots look spectacular in hanging planters. At the end of August, inflorescences appear at the ends of the branches, in which large, up to 3 cm in diameter, flowers bloom gradually, within 1.5 – 2 months. The shape of the flower is the same as in other species, with five petals, long, far protruding stamens, and a characteristic swollen calyx. In the natural form, the color of the stellate calyx is coral red, the petals and stamens are white.
The popular variety of this clerodendrum, Prospero, has a greenish calyx that does not contrast with the color of the petals, which makes the long, up to 20 cm, lushly flowering brushes even more elegant.
Because of the falling stream of snow-white flowers, the culture is often called the “bride veil” by the people. In catalogs, it can also be found under the names: clerodendrum wallichi, wallis, nodding clerodendrum or, for its pleasant and intense aroma, nodding jasmine.
The species tolerates indoor conditions well, needs intense but diffused lighting, a temperature not lower than 18 ° C, regular watering, fertilizing and spraying. It tolerates pruning, which is carried out in February-March, to give the plant the opportunity to form new shoots and lay flower buds. Successfully propagated by cuttings.
Clerodendrum Bunge (C. Bungei) is of Chinese origin. In the open field, it is a rather tall, up to 3 m, shrub with straight branched shoots, rough, dark green, heart-shaped leaves with a serrated edge, and small, fragrant, pale pink flowers. The latter are collected in flat, hydrangea-like, corymbose inflorescences with a diameter of about 15 cm.
The culture is quite unpretentious, less demanding on watering compared to other species. It does not propagate very readily, mainly by root shoots, or cuttings using phytogens. Relatively cold-resistant, in southern regions with mild winters it can be grown outdoors.
Clerodendrum thornless, or inerme (C. inerme) is an evergreen shrub species that grows everywhere along the coasts of rivers and seas in tropical Asia, Sri Lanka, the Pacific Islands up to Australia and western Polynesia. Its straight, branched shoots grow up to 3 m, opposite leaves are smooth, glossy above, have an ovate-oblong shape with a pointed end and a smooth edge and a size ranging from 5 to 10 cm.
In January-November, flowers bloom on the tops of the branches, snow-white, with long purple stamens and a pistil of the same shade, collected in three pieces in inflorescences-umbrellas. In warm countries, the plant is widely used to create living fences, because it grows quickly, tolerates shearing well, is relatively drought-resistant and undemanding to soils. It can grow even on saline lands, including sea coasts, withstanding the open sun and salt spray. In room culture, clerodendrum inerme is grown less frequently. The flower develops well in bright rooms, tolerates the dry air of apartments and insufficient watering well, in winter it needs a cool dormant period. Propagated by green cuttings or seeds.