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Vanessa Richins Myers

Shrub of the Week - Harlequin Glorybower - Clerodendrum Trichotomum

By September 5, 2010

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One of the funkiest shrubs I've ever seen is the Harlequin glorybower (Clerodendrum trichotomum). In the summer, it produces clusters of white flowers. However, the real show comes from the fruit. It's a great choice for fall color since it forms brilliant blue berries surrounded by red calyxes late in the summer.

The Harlequin glorybower is a large shrub (sometimes a small tree) that grows 10-15' tall and wide. The best zones for this shrub are USDA Zones 7-9. Some say the leaves smell like peanut butter if they are crushed, earning it the common name of peanut butter shrub. Another common name is Japanese Clerodendrum.

Have you seen the Harlequin glorybower in your area? Have you grown this shrub?

Image by Noel Zia Lee via Flickr


September 12, 2010 at 11:18 am
(1) Bob says:

We have this plant growing abundantly in eastern Massachusetts. It needs attention, as it is invasive.

October 28, 2010 at 4:03 pm
(2) Robert Ihloff says:

I am trying to buy a Harlequin Glorybower for my garden here in Maryland. I have seen one in Bristol, R.I. on an estate there. Any ideas of how to acquire one? Thanks.

October 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm
(3) Tersilla says:

I have three plants of Clerodendrum trichotomum in my garden. They are about 3 meters tall. It’s a common garden plant in my region. I live in the region called Emilia-Romagna, in the North of Italy, where the temperatures range from -10 to + 40 C.
The seeds carried by the birds sometimes originate new bushes or plants. No special care is required for this plant.

October 28, 2010 at 7:07 pm
(4) jan thomas says:

I inherited a young peanut butter tree from my mothers yard about 30 years ago. It is still going strong and has many many babies every year. I assume it is from the birds carrying the seeds and then dropping them, as I have babies every where. In flower pots, the grass and of course flower beds. If any one would like a new plant, any where from 12 inches to 3 feet, feel free to call me at 1-360-576-9006 and I can mail it to you.They are beautiful, smell great in the spring, loose all their leaves in the fall and have the second most gorgeous blossom ever. I’m in the pacific northwest and they seem to thrive here.

May 21, 2011 at 10:41 am
(5) Cindy Smith says:

I have beautiful harlequin glorybowers in my yard in Central North Carolina. I have many baby trees that I would love to share with others. The butterflies love this blooming tree.

May 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm
(6) Glenda says:

I moved to my home 17 yrs ago. There was one in my yard. Now I have MANY. The older it gets the more “babies” It has each year. Did not know the name if this tree ( all of mine turn into trees). has a wonderful fragrance when it blooms in July. Grows around 6-7 ft per yr. it attracts lots of butterflies and hummingbirds. This is also the only time we see the Hummingbird Bee. Magnificat. We live in central NC.

July 10, 2012 at 3:15 am
(7) pen holand says:

Do all Harlequin Glorybowers have the blossoms and berries? The one a friend gave me is a lovely looking shrub and gets new growth every year. I’ve had it now for over ten years, and it’s probably 6-8 times larger than when I first got it. but NOTHING has ever blossomed. I live in the Pacific Northwest, not far from the people who gave it to me. I have it in a spot that gets sun about half the day–WHEN we have sun.

August 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm
(8) Juliet Jones says:

Like commenter #2, Robert, I too saw this tree at the Blythewold estate in Bristol, RI. I live in Memphis TN, and according to my research, this tree would grown here, we are in Zone 7. A couple of commenters have offered to share their trees – I would be glad to purchase one from one of the people in N Carolina (I don’t know if it would survive a trip from the Pacific northwest). If you are reading this, and you have one to spare, please email me at juliet101@comcast.net thanks!!!

March 16, 2013 at 11:11 pm
(9) Lisa says:

Happened across this beautiful plant on Sunset web site. Totally fell in love with this unique plant. Having a hard time finding it here in Southern California. I have been checking my local nursery with no luck any info to LJoya24@aol.com is greatly appreciated:)

May 26, 2013 at 3:18 pm
(10) Marianne says:

I bought one at a garden club plant sale not knowing what it was. It took me forever to google and find out what it was. VERY hardy and put out shoots everwhere! I’m in Robbinsville NC and it grows very well here.

December 8, 2013 at 6:57 pm
(11) John Trollston says:

I had know idea that Shrek was into gardening. Huh. You learn something new everyday.

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