Fill some space in your garden and please the kids with the Harlequin Glorybower

Pruned and shaped

If you’ve been looking for a way to combine two of life’s greatest pleasures – peanut butter and gardening (who hasn’t been?) then I’ve got welcome news.

The Harlequin Glorybower (botanical nameĀ Clerodendrum trichotomum) is a fast growing shrub that’s easy to grow, is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. It will bring birds and butterflies to your garden. And let’s face it, you can spend all day rubbing the leaves to get the smell of peanut butter (yes I’ve done it … drools at the memories).

If you’re not a leaf-rubbing weirdo like me, you can just enjoy the beautiful fragrance of the plant in flower.


Deciduous or evergreen: deciduous

Type of plant: shrub

Colours: The star-shaped flowers are white, replaced by red berries which turn turquoise then dark blue at maturity.

Leaf shape: oval

Leaf colour; mid green

Maximum height expected: 4-8m

Maximum width expected: 4-8m

Time to maximum size: 10-20 years

Speed of growth: fast

Where is it native to? China, Japan, Korea and India


It makes suckers – you might welcome these if they are growing say in the shade of a palm or other tree where nothing much seems to grow. If you don’t want the suckers, they are easy enough to remove with a shovel.


Family: Lamiaceae (aka the mint family)

Genus: Clerodendrums

Other names: Farges harlequin glorybower, peanut butter tree, glory tree


The berries of contain a unique bright blue pigment called trichotomine, which has a unique chemical property, different from the way that other plant pigments get their colours.

Clerodendrum belongs to the same family of plants as lavender, mint and rosemary.

There are around 150 species in the genus Clerodendrum, although botanists once thought that there were more than 400 species


By Baronnet | Own work | License: CC-BY-SA-3.0 GFDL

By Dalgial (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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