Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Shooting Star (Clerodendrum quadriloculare)

This beauty of a tall shrub was one of the reasons why I started gardening just about a month ago. I never bothered about our home garden, until one day, I saw its cluster of flowers and realized how pretty and interesting they were. It stood out in the garden amongst all the shades of green because of its clusters of white flowers, each having a narrow pink tube.

I probably inherited the green genes from my dad. He's fond of plants and gardening, and apparently his sister gave him a cutting of this shrub to grow in our garden. Neither my dad nor my aunt had the right information on its name, but my dad was as curious as I was, and I was determined to find out.

My challenging pursuit to acquire knowledge of this plant, most especially its name, searching through the only clues I had - its physical properties, finally bore some fruit (no pun intended).

Belonging to the family Verbenaceae, the Clerodendrum is one of about 400 species of shrubs, lianas, and small trees that are said to have originated from the tropical regions of Africa and Asia. The Clerodendrum Quadriloculare, though, originated from the warm, sunny islands of our own beautiful Philippines. Its common names are Shooting Star and Philippine Glorybower.

It is a low maintenance plant (except for training), and thrives in warm climates. They require lots of sun and moist soil. The flowers are nectar-bearing so I am soon hoping to find colorful butterflies in the garden. The other day I spotted a bee hanging around one of the flower clusters. I've never been stung by one and hope my love for flowers now won't get me stings :P

Every morning now, I look forward to my garden visit as part of my newly-established ritual. Since my baby plants are still growing, I spend a few minutes checking each of my pots and then the Shooting Stars, of course. Between my mom and dad's plants, and now my own, I have to soon establish some sort of ownership in the garden! These are my dad's plants, really... But I always, always enjoy looking at the Shooting Stars. It's no wonder they are usually cultivated for ornamental purposes. It especially amuses me when they are still buds... And I mean literally buds! They remind me of cotton buds.

Look at their gorgeous leaves! They have rich green oval leaves which are dark purple underneath.

They propagate very easily because of its dense suckering habit. Because of this characteristic, the Clerodendrum Quadriloculare has been considered an invasive plant in some countries such as Palau, Pohnpei Islands in Micronesia, and some islands of Samoa. Thus it is advisable to keep them in pots. Severe pruning will result in outbursts of shoots and suckers. Right now our garden has 2 beautiful, tall- growing shrubs of these and are not causing any problems so far.

It is known as Ganalem to the Maranaos, the 6th largest Filipino ethnic group, who use this plant to treat boils and tuberculosis. Its methodology and other medicinal purposes are still unknown, forwarded information would be appreciated :)


Bea said...

I would like for them to invade my whole garden!

Ginny said...

Aren't they so pretty? The shooting star plant dad gave which I replanted a few weeks ago still isn't coming out with new leaves :-( But dad said it really takes time. Can't wait to see it bloom.

Diane said...

bea: me too. a thick jungle of them would be awesome... and self sustaining! they just keep on growing, and growing!

ginny: i love them! :)

dad has a thin branch he stuck in a pot whose leaves withered and died weeks ago. i almost took it out to use the pot but now if you look closely where the branch meets the soil, there are baby leaves growing right there! :) yours should come out soon enough:)