Clerodendrum L.

Clerodendrum is native to the tropics and subtropics, mainly of the Old World. It probably accommodates ca. 250 species (Mabberley 2008; 400-450 according to Wann 2000). Its fruit is a fleshy coloured drupe which makes it attractive for the garden. At least six species are cultivated as ornamentals in Europe (Wann 2000) but only one, Clerodendrum trichotomum, is fairly widespread in cultivation.

The classification of Clerodendrum (and Caryopteris) has long been controversial. Both were traditionally placed in Verbenaceae but in fact belong with Lamiaceae (Ajugoideae) (Cantino & al. 1992 and 1999         , Mabberley 2008, Yuan & al. 2010). The exact boundaries of Clerodendrum are still unclear. However, recent phylogenetic studies (Yuan & al. 2010) unambiguously place the Asian and African species (incl. the only species of concern in this account) in Clerodendrum s.str.

The genus name Clerodendrum is often miss-spelt as “Clerodendron” (see for instance Sell & Murrell 2009).


Cantino P.D., Harley A.M. & Wagstaff S.J. (1992) Genera of Labiatae: status and classification. In: Harley R.M. & Reynolds T. (eds.) Advances in labiate science. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: 511-522.

Cantino P.D., Wagstaff S.J. & Olmstead R.G. (1999) Caryopteris (Lamiaceae) and the conflict between phylogenetic and pragmatic considerations in botanical nomenclature. Syst. Bot. 23: 369-386. [available online at:]

Chen S.-L. & Gilbert M.G. (1994) Clerodendrum. In: Wu Z.-Y. & Raven P.H. (eds.), Flora of China, vol. 17. Bejing, Science Press: 34-43. [available online at:]

Mabberley D.J. (2008) Mabberley’s plant-book (3th ed.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: XVIII + 1021 p.

Sell P. & Murrell G. (2009) Flora of Great Britain and Ireland. Vol. 3 Mimosaceae – Lentibulariaceae. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: XXVIII + 595 p.

Steane D.A., de Kok R.P.J. & Olmstead R.G. (2004) Phylogenetic relationships between Clerodendrum (Lamiaceae) and other Ajugoid genera inferred from nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 32: 39-45. [available online at:]

Steane D.A., Scotland R.W. & Mabberley D.J. (1997). Phylogenetic Relationships of Clerodendrum s.l. (Lamiaceae) Inferred from Chloroplast DNA. Systematic Botany 22 (2): 229-243.

Steane D.A., Scotland R.W., Mabberley D.J. & Olmstead R.G. (1998) Molecular systematics of Clerodendrum (Lamiaceae): ITS sequences and total evidence. Am. J. Bot. 86(1): 98-107. [available online at:]

Wann J.D. (2000) Clerodendrum. In: Cullen J. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 6. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 159-160.

Yuan Y.-W., Mabberley D.J., Steane D.A. & Olmstead R.G. (2010) Further disintegration and redefinition of Clerodendrum (Lamiaceae): implications for the understanding of the evolution of an intriguing breeding strategy. Taxon 59(1): 125-133. [available online at:]

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith