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Clerodendrum paniculatum was first described in 1767 by the 'father' of modern biological nomenclature - the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus. The species epithet refers to the large 'paniculate' clusters of flowers (inflorescences), the feature which makes this such a visually-striking plant. The pagoda flower is commonly encountered in the Asian tropics, where it is popular as an ornamental and known for its medicinal uses.

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
The pagoda flower, so called because of its tall, pyramidal inflorescences, is one of the most spectacular Clerodendrum species.

Clerodendrum paniculatum was first described in 1767 by the 'father' of modern biological nomenclature - the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus. The species epithet refers to the large 'paniculate' clusters of flowers (inflorescences), the feature which makes this such a visually-striking plant. The pagoda flower is commonly encountered in the Asian tropics, where it is popular as an ornamental and known for its medicinal uses.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

The pagoda flower is found throughout tropical and subtropical Asia, from Bangladesh to the Moluccas. It is widely cultivated and often establishes as a garden escapee in these regions, so that its original distribution is not entirely clear.

Description

The most distinctive features of Clerodendrum paniculatum are the large terminal inflorescences (thyrses, though often erroneously called panicles) up to 45 cm long, bearing numerous red-orange flowers. Each slender, tubular flower is 1.2-2 cm long with five small lobes, these usually being slightly paler than the tube. Butterflies are the main pollinators. They extend their long, thin proboscides into the flower tubes during which process pollen adheres to their bodies from the long-exserted stamens.

The large, glossy, lobed leaves and fairly robust stems with an almost square cross-sectional form are also prominent characteristics of C. paniculatum . Their ability to produce root suckers allows pagoda flowers to spread vegetatively and they can form apparently clonal stands of several plants together.

Fruits and seeds

Clerodendrum paniculatum frequently has a high percentage of aborted pollen grains and fruit does not appear to set among the populations observed in Java, New Guinea and Sri Lanka. Kew scientist Dr James Wearn has only seen two dried specimens in fruit (collected from Peninsular Malaysia) which, when dissected, had seeds (at least developing) within their fruits. No germination tests have been carried out at Kew to date.

Kew's work on this species

The pagoda flower is one of about 150 species of Clerodendrum , a large genus which is native to Africa and Asia. Clerodendrum species can be found in a range of climatic conditions and habitats, from the temperate southern regions of China to the tropical heat of Borneo, and from primary rainforest to roadside scrub. Historically, there has been much confusion regarding Clerodendrum species concepts, such that herbarium specimens and cultivated plants were frequently misidentified. In order to address this problem, Dr James Wearn and Professor David Mabberley of Kew's Herbarium are currently undertaking research to review all of the species found in the Malesian region of southeast Asia. Clarification of this commonly-encountered genus is essential for taxonomists, ecologists and those undertaking practical conservation work.

Find out more about Kew's Clerodendrum research

Uses

The pagoda flower has a number of medicinal uses in Asia. In Malaysia an infusion is drunk as a purgative and is applied externally to distended stomachs. Various magical attributes have been recorded; indeed the Malay vernacular name pangil-pangil refers directly to the 'summoning' of spirits. Clerodendrum paniculatum is also supposed to confer protection from harm and is used as an elephant-medicine! Substances produced by several Clerodendrum species are undergoing more rigorous scientific trials in order to evaluate their medicinal potential. To date, results are promising, and antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties have been verified, as well as antiviral activity.

Cultivation

The pagoda flower was taken into cultivation throughout Indomalesia many centuries ago, as it is easy to grow in warm, humid climates and produces large inflorescences nearly all year round. Flowers of cultivated plants are usually sterile and so do not produce fruits. During the eighteenth century, novel ornamental plants from 'the other side of the world' were in high demand in Europe and this species was one of the earliest to reach the foremost nurseries of the time, being introduced to Britain from Java in 1809 as a greenhouse plant. It is easily propagated vegetatively and strikes readily from cuttings.

An occasional, naturally-occurring colour form with pale lemon-yellow flowers and pedicels (previously called Clerodendrum citrinum ) has been selected due to its ornamental appeal and is grown as C. paniculatum 'Alba'.

Where to see this at Kew

Although there are no live plants of Clerodendrum paniculatum currently at Kew, there are several other hardy (for example C. trichotomum near Victoria Gate) and greenhouse (for example C. speciosissimum in the Palm House) species in the Gardens.

Many dried specimens of Clerodendrum are held in Kew's behind-the-scenes Herbarium, where they are made available to researchers by appointment.

Ecology
Various, from waste-ground to rainforest, often close to fresh water.
Conservation
Least Concern according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Hazards

None known.

[CPLC]

Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

Distribution
Cultivada en Colombia; Alt. 1000 m.; Pacífico, Valle del Cauca.
Morphology General Habit
Arbusto

[KSP]
Use
Ornamental. Medicinal.

Native to:

Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Cambodia, China Southeast, India, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Maluku, Myanmar, New Guinea, Nicobar Is., Philippines, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam

Introduced into:

Caroline Is., Costa Rica, Fiji, Honduras, Marianas, Nicaragua, Panamá, Society Is., Sri Lanka, Trinidad-Tobago

English
Pagoda flower

Clerodendrum paniculatum L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Apr 4, 2017 Rafidah, A.R. [FRI64641], Malaysia K000734920
Nov 1, 2013 Johns [11165], Papua New Guinea K000938227
Jul 26, 2011 Banyeng, Y. [57327], Malaysia K000853693
Jan 1, 2011 Nguyen Van Du et al. [HNK891], Vietnam K000249860
Jan 1, 2011 Parnell et al. [95-518], Thailand K000735258
Jan 1, 2011 Parnell [95518], Thailand K000853671
Aug 31, 2006 J.C. [1619], Malaysia K000249628
Aug 31, 2006 Furtado, C.X. [SFN36550], Singapore K000249606
Aug 31, 2006 Corner, E.J.H. [33527], Malaysia K000249610
Aug 31, 2006 Holttum, R.E. [SFN37385], Singapore K000249609
Aug 31, 2006 Furtado, C.X. [SFN36550], Malaysia K000249633
Aug 31, 2006 Holttum, R.E. [SFN37385], Singapore K000249632
Aug 31, 2006 Corner, E.J.H. [33527], Malaysia K000249608
Aug 31, 2006 Holttum, R.E. [SFN37385], Singapore K000249631
Aug 31, 2006 Corner, E.J.H. [33527], Malaysia K000249607
Aug 12, 2006 Jones, B.L. [252], Malaysia K000853691
Aug 12, 2006 Jones, B.L. [252], Malaysia K000853692
Jun 4, 1982 Sands, M.J.S. [2527], Papua New Guinea K000804943
May 28, 1958 Shah, M. [254], Malaysia K000249630
Wray, L. Jr. [42], Malaysia K000784872
s.coll. [6050], Malaysia K000784874
s.coll. [s.n.], Malaysia K000784876 Unknown type material
Moysey, L. [SFN31054], Malaysia K000249611
Deschamps, E. [s.n.], Malaysia K000249625
Yapp, R.H. [98], Malaysia K000249627
Beccari, O. [1036], Malaysia K000785825
Griffith, W. [s.n.], Malaysia K000784875
Dr. King's Collector [1792], Malaysia K000784873
Togashi, M. [62133], Singapore K000249629
Curtis, C. [313], Malaysia K000784871
s.coll. [s.n.], Indonesia K000785821
Deschamps, E. [s.n.], Singapore K000249626
Horsfield, T. [s.n.], Indonesia K000785822
Gwynne Vaughan, D.T. [625], Malaysia K000249622
Nur, M. [SFN32731], Malaysia K000249634
Robinson, H.C. [5706], Thailand K000249621
Deschamps, E. [s.n.], Malaysia K000249624
Brooks, F.T. [1], Malaysia K000249613
Lörzing, J.A. [11875], Indonesia K000785823
Deschamps, E. [s.n.], Singapore K000249623
Zollinger, H. [1641], Indonesia K000785824
Haviland, G.D. [s.n.], Malaysia K000785826
Robinson, H.C. [5706], Thailand K000249620
Otik [4925], Malaysia K000785820
Christensen, H. [1397], Malaysia K000853694
Furtado, C.X. [s.n.], Singapore K000249612
Stevens, P.F. [LAE50136], Papua New Guinea K000804942
Dec 7, 2009 Robinson, H.C. [5753], Thailand Clerodendrum citrinum K000910183 holotype
s.coll. [Cat. no. 1802] Clerodendrum pyramidale K001114236
s.coll. [Cat. no. 1802] Clerodendrum pyramidale K001114235
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 1802], Malaysia Clerodendrum pyramidale K001114234

First published in Mant. Pl. 1: 90 (1767)

Accepted by

  • Baksh-Comeau, Y., Maharaj, S.S., Adams, C.D., Harris, S.A., Filer, D.L. & Hawthorne, W.D. (2016). An annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Trinidad and Tobago with analysis of vegetation types and botanical 'hotspots' Phytotaxa 250: 1-431.
  • Bramley, G.L.C. (2019). Flora Malesiana 23: 1-444. Noordhoff-Kolff N.V., Djakarta.
  • Davidse, G. & al. (eds.) (2012). Flora Mesoamericana 4(2): 1-533. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.
  • Deori, C., Kumar Roy, D. & Talukdar, S.R. (2012). Clerodendrum paniculatum L. (Verbenaceae): A new record to North-East India from Barnadi Wildlife Sancturay, Assam Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 34: 835-836.
  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.
  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Nelson Sutherland, C.H. (2008). Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas: 1-1576. SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
  • Sarder, N.U. & Hassan, M.A. (eds.) (2018). Vascular flora of Chittagong and the Chittagong Hill Tracts 3: 1-978. Bangladesh National Herbarium, Dhaka.
  • Smith, A.C. (1991). Flora Vitiensis Nova. A new flora for Fiji (Spermatophytes only) 5: 1-626. Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai.
  • Turner, I.M. (1995 publ. 1997). A catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Malaya Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 47(2): 347-655.
  • Vikraman, R.R., Pandurangan, A.G. & Thulasidas, G. (2008). A study on the garden escaped exotics of Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 32: 765-781.
  • Wearn, J.A. & Mabberley, D.J. (2011). Clerodendrum (Lamiaceae) in Borneo Systematic Botany 36: 1050-1061.
  • Welsh, S.L. (1998). Flora Societensis: 1-420. E.P.S. Inc. Utah.

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Boo, C.M., Kartini, O.-H. & Ou-Yang, C.L. (2006). 1001 Garden Plants in Singapore. Second edition. National Parks Board, Singapore.
  • Burkill, I.H. (1966). A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula. Revised reprint. Vol. 1. Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Mabberley, D.J. (1992). Architecture of the Verbenaceae of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, with preliminary notes on their reproductive biology. Sci. New Guinea 19: 37-45.
  • Shrivastava, N. & Patel, T. (2007). Clerodendrum and healthcare: an overview. Medicinal Aromatic Plant Sci. and Biotech. 1: 142–150.
  • 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: 125–133.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Baksh-Comeau, Y., Maharaj, S.S., Adams, C.D., Harris, S.A., Filer, D.L. & Hawthorne, W.D. (2016). An annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Trinidad and Tobago with analysis of vegetation types and botanical 'hotspots' Phytotaxa 250: 1-431.
  • Bramley, G.L.C. (2019). Flora Malesiana 23: 1-444. Noordhoff-Kolff N.V., Djakarta.
  • Davidse, G. & al. (eds.) (2012). Flora Mesoamericana 4(2): 1-533. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.
  • Deori, C., Kumar Roy, D. & Talukdar, S.R. (2012). Clerodendrum paniculatum L. (Verbenaceae): A new record to North-East India from Barnadi Wildlife Sancturay, Assam Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 34: 835-836.
  • Fosberg, F.R., Sachet, M.-H., Oliver, R. (1979). A geographical checklist of the Micronesian Dicotyledonae Micronesica; Journal of the College of Guam 15: 41-295.
  • Smith, A.C. (1991). Flora Vitiensis Nova. A new flora for Fiji (Spermatophytes only) 5: 1-626. Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai.
  • Welsh, S.L. (1998). Flora Societensis: 1-420. E.P.S. Inc. Utah.

Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
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Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia
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Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible
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Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
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Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
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