Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Clerodendrum inerme (L.) Gaertn.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Leaves and flowers. © Barry Jago
Leaves and flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Gaertner, J. (1788) De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum 1: 271.

Common name

Clerodendrum, Scrambling; Scrambling Clerodendrum; Harmless Clerodendron; Clerodendron, Harmless


Often grows into a rather untidy vine but frequently flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-4 m tall. Vine stem diameters to 3 cm recorded.


Twigs, petioles and leaves glabrous or minutely puberulous. Leaf blades about 3-12 x 1-6 cm, punctate or glandular on the lower surface. Petioles about 0.5-1.5 cm long, grooved or channelled on the upper surface. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Twigs usually pale-coloured and petioles dark purple.


Pedicels puberulous, about 3-6 mm long. Calyx about 3-6 mm long, glandular, glabrous or puberulous with a few large nectariferous glands on the outer surface, glabrous on the inner surface, lobes minute. Corolla glabrous and glandular outside, tube villous inside, tube cylindrical, about 15-40 mm long, lobes about 3.5-11 mm long. Stamens exserted, filaments about 15-38 mm long, anthers about 2.5-3 mm long. Ovary glabrous, glandular, about 1.5-2 x 1-1.5 mm, style exserted, glabrous, about 25-48 mm long.


Fruit consists of four nutlets which fit together and are borne on a receptacle like an egg in an egg cup. Fruit about 10-20 x 7-15 mm. Calyx persistent at the base forming a cup about 7-12 mm diam. Cotyledons about 5 mm long, much longer and wider than the radicle which is about 0.5-1 mm long.


Cotyledons thick and fleshy, about 12-20 x 6-9 mm, gradually tapering into the petioles. First pair of leaves opposite, margins entire or with a few teeth. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade lanceolate, margin entire or with a few teeth, stem purple becoming pale, terminal bud clothed in pale prostrate hairs. Petiole and midrib purple. Seed germination time 22 to 28 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range very small, at or slightly above sea level. Usually grows in close proximity to the sea and is often found near margins or on the margins of beach forest. Also occurs in Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties.

Volkameria inermis L., Species plantarum : 637(1753), Type: India, Herb. Linnaeus 809/3; holo: LINN. Clerodendrum commersonii (Poir.) Spreng., Systema Vegetabilium 2 : 758(1825). Volkameria commersonii Poir., Lam. Encyc. 8: 688(1808), Type: Philippines, (FI herb Desfontaines.) Fide Munir (1989). Volkameria nereifolia Roxb., Fl. Ind. edn. 2 3: 64(1832), Type: Island of Mascal, on the coast of Chittagong, India, now Bengladesh; holo: K. Fide Munir (1989). Clerodendrum javanicum Sprengel, Syst. Veg. 2: 759(1825), Type: Indonesia, Java; holo: HBG. Fide Munir (1989). Clerodendrum nereifolium (Roxb.) King & Gamble, Prodromus 11: 660(1847), Type: In Indie orientali, e.g. pr. Tavoy et Tenasserim (Wall.!). Volkameria neriiflia Roxb. fl. ind. ed. 1832 v. 3 p. 64.
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