Q. What is the name of the very fragrant tree in the rock garden?
The fragrant mystery tree in the rock garden is Clerodendrum trichotomum, commonly called harlequin glorybower tree.
This Japanese native produces tubular, fragrant, white flowers in long-peduncled cymes that 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 (5-8 inches long) produce no fall color. When bruised, the leaves produce a unique aroma reminiscent of peanut butter; peanut butter tree is a sometimes-used common name for this plant. Harlequin glorybower is a more frequently used common name. Clerodendrum comes from the Greek words klero (fate) and dendron (tree), hence the infrequently used common name, fate tree.
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- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service