Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours
Stratification: cold stratify for 90 days
Germination: sow seed 1/16" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed
Clerodendrum trichotomum, also known as harlequin glorybower or glorytree, is a beautiful flowering plant belonging to the genus Clerodendrum. Native to China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and India, this large shrub can grow up to 6 meters (20 feet) in height. The ovate leaves, which are up to 12 cm (5 inches) long, are soft and downy or hairy and emit a pleasant peanut odor when crushed. The plant produces fragrant flowers on branching peduncles, with white petals held within a green calyx that turns red as the fruits ripen. The drupes, which start off white and eventually turn dark blue as they mature, contain a unique blue pigment called Trichotomine.
Clerodendrum trichotomum is cultivated for its fragrant flowers, beautiful autumn colors, and ornamental berries. However, it requires a sheltered position and is best grown in a hardy environment. The variety C. trichotomum var. fargesii, also known as Farges' harlequin glorybower, has even gained the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Aside from its aesthetic value, this plant also possesses medicinal properties. The leaves of Clerodendrum trichotomum have been found to have analgesic, antipruritic, hypotensive, and sedative effects. They can be externally applied to treat dermatitis and internally used for various conditions such as hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, numbness, and paralysis. In a clinical trial involving 171 participants, it was discovered that 81% of the subjects experienced a significant drop in blood pressure when administered with this plant. However, this effect was reversed once the treatment was discontinued.
Overall, Clerodendrum trichotomum is a remarkable plant that offers both aesthetic beauty and potential health benefits. Whether grown as a shrub or trained as a tree, its flaring tubular white flowers and striking bright blue berries in a reddish calyx make it a fantastic addition to any garden or landscape.