Clerodendrum Paniculatum was first described in 1767 by Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who is also known for his pioneering work in modern biological nomenclature. The most distinctive features of Clerodendrum Paniculatum are the large terminal inflorescences up to 45 cm long, bearing numerous flowers. The flowers within the pyramid shaped cluster are tiered, like a Japanese pagoda, hence its common name. Each slender, tubular flower is 1.2–2 cm long with five small lobes, these usually being slightly paler than the tube. The large, glossy, lobed leaves and fairly robust stems with an almost square cross-sectional form are also prominent characteristics of Clerodendrum Paniculatum. The Yellow Pagoda Flower (Clerodendrum Paniculatum Alba) is a rarer variety of the Pagoda Flower (Clerodendrum Paniculatum) with off-white to pale lemon-yellow flowers.
Commonly encountered in the Asian tropics, the plant is popular as an ornamental and known for its medicinal uses. In Malaysia an infusion is drunk as a purgative and is applied externally to distended stomachs. Various magical attributes have been recorded in Malaysia and Indonesia, where the plant is known as panggil-panggil (meaning to summon) referring to the ‘summoning’ of spirits.
It is easy to grow in warm, humid climates, propagates vegetatively and readily from cuttings and produces large inflorescences nearly all year round.
Photo: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 55-200mm