Clerodendron – Harlequin Glorybower

Q: I have two small trees that my father gave me. He told me that they were Butterfly Trees. I would like to know the scientific name as well as the common name for them. The blooms are white and very fragrant, similar to a gardenia scent but much stronger. They attract dozens of butterflies and hummingbirds, which fight over them. How big do they get?

A: You have a Clerodendron trichotomum, for which the common name is Harlequin Glorybower. Some folks call them “Red, White and Blue Trees” because the white flowers emerge from tubular red calyxes. When the flowers drop, they are replaced by a blue fruit in the center of the red, now star-shaped, calyx. They grow ten feet high and wide.

You have likely noticed that this plant sends up suckers far and wide around it. Pull them up when you see them or you’ll have a clerodendron jungle.

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NC State University

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