Clerodendrum trichotomum

Botanical Name : Clerodendrum trichotomum
Family: Verbenaceae (or Lamiaceae)
Genus: Clerodendrum
Species: C. trichotomum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names: Harlequin glorybower,Chou Wu Tong

Habitat :Clerodendrum trichotomum is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows in thickets on mountain slopes, throughout most of China except Nei Mongol, below elevations of 2400 metres .

Description:
A decidious Tree growing to 6m by 3m.This large shrub offers a late-summer display of jasmine-like white flowers encased in red tepals and scent.The flowers  have white petals, held within a brown calyx. The fruits are bright blue drupes. Bright blue berries in autumn are accented by conspicuous bright, pinkish-red calyxes.The leaves are ovate, up to 12 cm long, soft and downy or hairy.

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It is hardy to zone 7.  The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Noteworthy characteristics: When crushed, the foliage smells like unsweetened peanut butter, thought it is often described as “fetid.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in a sunny position in ordinary garden soil but prefers a fertile humus-rich well-drained loam. The soil must not be allowed to dry out in the growing season. Requires a position sheltered from cold drying winds. Plants are generally hardy to about -15°c, they succeed outdoors at Kew though the branches are pithy and are apt to die back in winter. The sub-species C. trichotomum fargesii. (Dode.)Rehder. is somewhat hardier, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c. Plants produce the occasional sucker. The leaves have a heavy unpleasant odour when crushed. Flowers are produced on the current seasons growth and are sweetly scented.

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Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as possible in a greenhouse. Germination can be erratic but usually takes place within 20 – 60 days at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Root cuttings, 6 – 8cm long, December in a greenhouse. High percentage. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Very easy, they can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Young sprouts and leaves – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic; Antipruritic; Antirheumatic; Hypotensive; Parasiticide; Sedative.

The leaves are mildly analgesic, antipruritic, hypotensive and sedative. They are used externally in the treatment of dermatitis and internally for the treatment of hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, numbness and paralysis. When used in a clinical trial of 171 people, the blood pressure of 81% of the people dropped significantly – this effect was reversed when the treatment was stopped. The plant is normally used in conjunction with Bidens bipinnata. When used with the herb Siegesbeckia pubescens it is anti-inflammatory. The roots and leaves are antirheumatic and hypotensive. A decoction is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and hypertension. The pounded seed is used to kill lice.

Other Uses:

Scented Plants
Flowers: Fresh
The flowers are sweetly scented.
Leaves: Crushed
The leaves have a heavy unpleasant odour when crushed.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clerodendrum_trichotomum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Clerodendrum+trichotomum
http://www.finegardening.com/plantguide/clerodendrum-trichotonum-harlequin-glorybower.aspx

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