Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-10 where it is grown in organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. In St. Louis, it is not reliably winter hardy and, if attempted, should be sited in a protected location with a winter mulch.
Clerodendrum trichotomum, native to China and Japan, is a coarse, sometimes unkempt, deciduous shrub or small tree that grows 10-20’ tall. It is most often seen as a suckering shrub. It must be trained to grow as a tree and is rarely seen growing in that form. As an ornamental, this shrub is perhaps best noted for its late summer flowers, showy fruit and malodorous foliage. Tubular, fragrant, white flowers in long-peduncled cymes (to 6-9” across) bloom in the upper leaf axils from late summer into fall. Flowers are followed by small bright blue fruits, each subtended by a fleshy red calyx. Opposite, toothed to entire, ovate, dark green leaves (to 5-8” long) produce no fall color. When bruised, the leaves do produce a unique aroma reminiscent of peanut butter as memorialized by the sometimes used common name of peanut butter tree for this plant. Harlequin glorybower is a more frequently used common name.
Genus name comes from the Greek words kleros meaning chance and dendron meaning a tree.
No serious insect or disease problems.
Where winter hardy, grow in shrub borders or woodland margins. In St. Louis, plants may be attempted in sheltered locations with winter mulch.