Clerodendrum tomentosum (VERBENACEAE) Hairy Lollybush

Plants to Plant

Shrub or small tree up to about 10 m tall in subtropical, dry, littoral and warm temperate rainforest. Ranging from Batemans Bay, NSW to Cape York, North Queensland. Can be used as pioneer species. Large, fragrant flowers and colourful fruit make this an ornamental plant for the garden. It is a very hardy plant. Prune to keep bushy, though it can naturally clump out with root suckers which are readily produced. Propagate with freshly collected seed from ripe fruit. Remove seeds from fruit and plant immediately in clean seedling mix. Seed germinates with difficulty over a long period. Plant will propagate from stem and root cuttings. Aborigines made a decoction from the wood of this plant that was drunk for aches and pains. They also used this plant as an indicator of subterranean water supplies.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flowers and Foliage

Flowers are white and fragrant in clusters in leaf axils or branchlet ends and appear September to January. Fruit is a blue-black shiny drupe 5-8 mm diameter and is seated in a red calyx. Fruit is ripe January to May. Seeds carried by birds. Not edible by humans. The name means hairy chance tree. Pollinated by nocturnal moths, attracts frugivores, insect-eating birds, butterflies. Possible replacement for Lantana (also Verbenaceae).
Photo: Kenneth McClymont © 2002