Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Clerodendrum tomentosum (Vent.) R.Br.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Leaves and fruit. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Brown, R. (1810) Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 510.

Common name

Hairy Clerodendrum; Lolly Bush; Hairy Clerodendron; Flowers of Magic; Downy Chance Tree; Witches Tongues


Bark coarsely tessellated and dead bark layered. Outer and inner blaze almost white.


Leaf blades about 6-13 x 2.5-6 cm. Lateral veins curved throughout their length and leaf blade is densely clothed in white erect hairs on both the upper and lower surfaces. Stipules absent but twigs marked by scars which closely resemble stipular scars. Leaf bearing twigs densely clothed in pale erect hairs. Petioles hairy and shallowly channelled on the upper surface.


Calyx about 6-9 mm long, lobes about 3-4 mm long, softly pubescent on the outer surface but glandular and puberulous inside. Corolla tube long and slender, about 18-25 mm long, pubescent on the outer surface, lobes about 6-8 mm long. Anthers dark brown immediately after shedding pollen.


Calyx lobes persistent at the base. Fruiting carpels almost black at maturity, globose, about 10 mm diam. Seeds about 10 x 6 mm. Testa hard.


First pair of leaves with toothed margins. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade broadly ovate to almost orbicular, margin crenate or dentate. Upper and lower leaf blade surfaces hairy. Stem and petiole densely clothed in erect white hairs. Taproot swollen. Seed germination time 20 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as south-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 400 m. Grows in monsoon forest, drier, more seasonal rain forest and gallery forest. Also occurs in New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

Three subspecies are recorded.

1. Clerodendrum tomentosum (Vent.) R.Br. var. tomentosum occurs in WA, NT, QLD and NSW usually in deciduous vine forest, coastal vegetation and river banks. It is distinguished in part by the leaf blades which can be elliptic, elliptic-oblong or broadly lanceolate with attenuate base.

2. Clerodendrum tomentosum var. mollissima Benth. occurs in deciduous vine thickets and coastal vegetation in WA, and rarely in NT. It is distinguished by the leaf blades which are very broadly ovate with an almost rounded leaf base.

3. Clerodendrum tomentosum var. lanceolatum (F.Muell.) Munir occurs in WA and in Qld near Chillagoe and inland areas south towards Rockhampton. It is distinguished in part by the leaf blades which are narrow-lanceolate and attenuate at both ends.

Clerodendrum tomentosum (Vent.) R.Br. var. tomentosum, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1112(1928). Clerodendrum tomentosum var. typicum Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1112(1928). Volkameria tomentosaVent., Jard. Malm. : t. 84(1804), Type: Based on the plate Ventenat (1804). Cultivated material without definite locality. Clerodendrum tomentosum var. lanceolatum (F.Muell.) Munir, Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 11: 157(1989). Clerodendrum huegelii Regel, Gartenflora 10 : 51(1861), Type: .. welche durch Boron von H~ygel aus dem w~urmern Theile Neuhollands in Cultur eingef~yhrt ward. Clerodendrum lanceolatum F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 3: 145(1862), Type: In collibus rupestribus ad sinum Nickol Bay. Pemb. Walcott. Clerodendrum medium R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 510(1810), Type: v.v.
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