Japanese Clerodendrum, Peanut Butter Shrub, Harlequin Glory Bower

Clerodendrum trichotomum

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Clerodendrum (kler-oh-DEN-drum) (Info)
Species: trichotomum (try-KOH-toh-mum) (Info)
Synonym:Siphonanthus trichotomus
Synonym:Clerodendron trichotomum
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:



White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Huntsville, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama

Davis, California (2 reports)

Ripon, California

San Anselmo, California

Santa Barbara, California

East Haddam, Connecticut

Atlantic Beach, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Lynn Haven, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

Molino, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida

Oakland, Florida

Acworth, Georgia

Barnesville, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Danielsville, Georgia

Macon, Georgia

Snellville, Georgia

Winterville, Georgia

Bossier City, Louisiana

Gonzales, Louisiana

Saint Francisville, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Thibodaux, Louisiana

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

Melrose, Massachusetts

Methuen, Massachusetts

Randolph, Massachusetts

Columbia, Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Laurel, Mississippi

Madison, Mississippi

Magnolia, Mississippi

Pascagoula, Mississippi

Picayune, Mississippi

Asheboro, North Carolina

High Point, North Carolina

Jacksonville, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Saluda, North Carolina

Beaverton, Oregon

Corvallis, Oregon

Dallas, Oregon

Newberg, Oregon

Portland, Oregon (3 reports)

Salem, Oregon

Wilsonville, Oregon

Lansdowne, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Providence, Rhode Island

Bluffton, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Pickens, South Carolina

Memphis, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Houston, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Spring, Texas

Chesapeake, Virginia

Exmore, Virginia

Hood, Virginia

Norfolk, Virginia

Stafford, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Battle Ground, Washington

Bellevue, Washington

Grand Mound, Washington

Kent, Washington

Lake Forest Park, Washington

Point Roberts, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Vancouver, Washington (2 reports)

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 4, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The species is not reliably hardy north of Z8. C. trichotomum var. fargesii is reliably hardy to Z6a. I have never seen any winter dieback on the latter in the Arnold Arboretum, Boston Z6a.


On Oct 11, 2013, teatimecarole from Asheboro, NC wrote:

My son gave me my "sprout" about 3 years ago. It is now a small tree and has brought us a lot of enjoyment - more this year than ever. It has all seasons of beautiful blooms and berries and has a nice peanut-butter smell when you crush the leaves. The butterflies LOVE it, the Hummingbirds LOVE it and I have just discovered the birds must LOVE it as well as I just now discovered at least 8 birds (all different kinds) on the branches. I guess they are eating the berries. I will try to post a picture. Here in NC this summer, we have had a lot of rain so also had a lot of sprouts popping up that we are trying to share with others.


On Aug 1, 2013, trharl from Norfolk, VA wrote:

We live in Norfolk,Va. and I transplanted 2 seedlings from Va. Beach, about 10 years ago. These 2 plants are about 20 ft. tall and fill out space in our back yard. Yes, they are sending out runners, but I keep them in check. I just love seeing the hummingbirds which we never had before. And I love the fragrant blossoms. I didn't know the name of the shrub until recently when I got it identified at the Va. Tech. Experimental Station in Va. Beach. They said they had just identified another sample earlier in week! So it must be growing well here!


On Jan 22, 2013, LoriGrant from Victoria,
Canada wrote:

I love this plant and it's amazing and unique smell. It grows perfectly in my climate and is very tall and has not spread too much or reproduced or sent out shoots.
I just don't know when to prune them or how severely a prune they can handle. Also, they haven't flowered despite how healthy they are. Help please :)


On Sep 27, 2012, brucebean from Providence, RI wrote:

I saw this tree in Bristol RI. and wanted to find out about it. This site helped me understand about this tree.Thank you.


On Sep 19, 2012, RosinaBloom from Waihi,
New Zealand (Zone 1) wrote:

Quote from Davesgarden "Latin Word of the Week"
19 Sept 12012
The name Clerodendrum is an oddity in the Botanical world. It is derived from the Greek kleros (chance) and dendron (tree) and logic would dictate it should be written as Clerodendron to follow the standard rules of botanical nomenclature. Some sources spell it as such, but the accepted is Clerodendrum.

The genus contains about 400 species, most of them native to Asia and Africa. They are generally tender perrenials, and only a handful of them are widely cultivated.


On Aug 20, 2012, ma_belle_jardin from Vancouver,
Canada wrote:

I found a mature plant growing in Stanley Park, here in Vancouver BC. It is a glory right now - end of August. A tree-sized shrub (branches from the base) of about 15' ht x w., it is gorgeously fragrant - sweet - with a beautiful jasmine-like flowers on interesting red calix bases. I am going to check it out in the fall to see what the leaf does during fall. For those interested, Vancouver BC is USDA hardiness zone 8.
I am in love, and want one of these for my own!


On Jul 11, 2011, trynfindit from Jacksonville, FL wrote:


This plant will come up EVERYWHERE (thanks to birds, squirrels, the wind, you name it) and it's impossible to get rid of.


On Jun 27, 2011, BUFFY690 from Prosperity, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Giving this plant a try, I think with its invasive tendency I am going to try and use a cememt underground barrier about 4 feet deep. It may be like bamboo and go under or over but I think this is a neat plant.


On May 10, 2011, blm1067 from Ripon, CA wrote:

My mother had this plant while she was living in Wilsonville, Oregon. Once she gave me a sapling, i have had it in a pot for the past 7 years or more. After seeing this on here, I am eager to plant it. I would love to see it grow into a tree, mine is about 3-4 feet tall. Every fall it looses it's leaves and every spring it comes back.


On Feb 5, 2010, mrs_colla from Marin, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I am afraid that all its beauty is not enough to win me over completely; it suckers like mad, it comes up 3nmeters away from the tree. I have mine multi branched, that's how I bought it.
I might try to trim it up and shape it like a tree.


On May 25, 2007, drekadair from Wilsonville, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

When we moved into our house our neighbors had one of these planted near the fence. That one tree has now become three without any help, and several have tried to move into our yard. It is fast-growing and somewhat invasive, but it is one of my favorite trees. It flowers late in summer, around August, and produces the most heavenly smell imaginable. The dark blue berries last all through winter if the birds don't eat them--the robins love them.


On Jan 27, 2006, GypsyRoseNZ from Hamilton,
New Zealand wrote:

This tree is between 15ft - 20ft high in a corner of my backyard in Hamilton, New Zealand (central North Island of New Zealand). It has prefuse highly perfumed blossoms from December (our summer) to about the end of February into March. The butterflies love it!


On Jul 24, 2003, Waterguy wrote:

I really love this tree, but very, very invasive in Virginia Beach, VA. Planted 2 about 2' in height and 4 years later I have 6 at about 12' to 18' and countless sprouts in my yard I must pull up through out the year. Non stop Butterfly interaction. BUT I must get to the sprouts quickly, they grow very fast and in any place---like the rose of sharon.... I am experimenting with shaping, and I am amazed at the different ways I can make them look!!!

Hard work keeping after them. If I let them go they would take over my yard and make it a forest in no time!!


On Jun 18, 2003, whoopinaggie from Richmond, TX wrote:

The is a gorgeous tree that grows as if in a race here in Texas. I have had the tree for only a little over 3 years and it has grown to about 12 feet. The blooms smell like jasmine. My tree, however, has never had the fruit that you always hear about it. That doesn't stop the tree from apparently sending out dozens of babies A YEAR. It seems I'm having to pull a few seedling a week from spring until fall. It is a very lovely, small tree and is a wonderful addition to any garden.


On Jun 15, 2003, AmyERichardson wrote:

Lovely shrub that blooms in mid-summer when many other shrubs have finished. Blooms are very fragrant and attract mobs of butterflies. The leaves smell badly if crushed. Mine grows in Maryland at the edge of woodland and is about 15 feet tall. Uniquely colored calaxes and berries provide nice fall interest. I've never noticed birds eating them, though. Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania has at least two nice specimens. A real treat to have in the garden. A hardy plant that's pretty, too boot.


On May 24, 2003, pammyjo from Seattle, WA wrote:

Maybe this plant is too tropical for the Pacific Northwest. The plant itself is healthy and blooms each year, but the flowers fall off without forming the calyxes or berries. I have seen others around Seattle that are covered with the berries, so am having a hard time diagnosing the problem. There are plenty of bees and butterflies in my garden, it is in well drained soil and has been fertilized. This year it got leggy and seemed to be getting some fungus. I will keep it for a few more years to see if it holds its berries, but if not it's coming out!


On Oct 25, 2002, Wilddande wrote:

Wow! A freeze-tolerant tropical with lovely gray-green foliage, beautiful floral umbels of white - pink blossoms that attract butterflies from miles around, and easy enough for a 3rd grader to grow! We obtained ours from the nearby Mercer Arboretum during a tropicals symposium there, about 6 years ago, as a bare rooted limp thing that had been unceremoniously yanked from the good Mercer ground earlier that day. We put it in our deep sandy loam here at our place, under partial shade, and here it has thrived. Our soil tends to be rather acidic, easily leached, with a resultant thin humic layer. If there is a knock on this plant, it is that it is almost too easy to propogate. In the 6 years we've had this plant, its blue-black berries have given rise to half a dozen more within a 10' radius o... read more


On Aug 25, 2002, cecropia from Greensboro, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

Quite invasive, but friends love to have a plant so not a big problem. Called locally "Butterfly Tree". Butterflys and humming birds flock to it. My specimen tree is about 20 feet tall.


On Jul 22, 2002, Chili from Raleigh, NC wrote:

Unique flower/calyx/seed combo stops traffic. A very large example (15'x15') was recently removed here (Raleigh, NC) and was an outstanding small tree. Flowers start as cream colored buds in July then open as soft pink/white. Gradually, the calyx swells a bright magenta and the seed is a bright blue. Gives appearance of two separate flowering cycles lasting several months. Late frosts here in 7b-8a have done some damage, but not significant. Butterflies go right past the buddleia nearby and hover over this by the hundreds. Numerous "pass-alongs" in Johnston Co. NC have performed very well, I am told.


On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

A deciduous shrub or tree. Leaves are usually entire, opposite, 10-23 cm x 5-10 cm, dark green, soft hairy. When bruised, they have the odor of peanut butter. White flowers appear in late summer and early fall, fragrant; showy red calyxes cover small, and ultimately, bright blue fruit.