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Shrub identification?

Posted by harborrose 8b-PNW (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 28, 13 at 10:44

This shrub or small tree is in a small park in the Queen Anne section of Seattle. Do you know what this is? Thanks for any help identifying it.

IMG_8764


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RE: Shrub identification?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 28, 13 at 13:10

Clerodendrum trichotomum. Species is asked about rather often. A Jacobson lists two examples for Parsons Gardens Park on page 305 of Trees of Seattle - Second Edition (2006).

This post was edited by bboy on Mon, Oct 28, 13 at 13:26


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RE: Shrub identification?

Thanks again, bboy. That was the garden, also.


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RE: Shrub identification?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 28, 13 at 22:19

Yes, it would have been Parsons Gardens - that's why I mentioned it. You can also see the tree here and there in yards - at flowering time it is very fragrant.

This post was edited by bboy on Mon, Oct 28, 13 at 22:21


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RE: Shrub identification?

bboy, I knew that's why you mentioned it. That's why I mentioned it. I read it smells like peanut butter. I'll have to go back next spring; I'd like to see the blooms also. Thanks again.


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RE: Shrub identification?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 30, 13 at 14:32

As long as fresh leaves are present you can still get the peanut or potato smell, as that is where it comes from and not the flowers. The flowers have a wafting, tropical kind of aroma, which can sometimes be picked up some distance away.


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RE: Shrub identification?

The aroma reminds me of burnt rubber or of phenolic perfboards used in electronic prototyping.


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RE: Shrub identification?

lol. And 'Madame Hardy' smells like hot solder, perhaps?


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with good pruning Clerodendrum can turn into a perfect little yard tree.

very common here in portland, but i don't get bored of them.


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RE: Shrub identification?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 31, 13 at 13:11

The top usually forms an umbrella on its own. The two main issues are suckering, in the manner of a sumac and lack of hardiness - it will die back if the temperature gets below, say, 10 degrees F. This estimate is based on damage resulting from the 1990 winter, when one of the best ones I knew of was spoiled (and many others in the area were hit). It didn't die, but the property owner was apparently prompted by the extent of the damage to cut it down. I remember a swath of dead running across most of the branches above the trunk, with a small live area off to the side.

Occasionally offered plants labeled as var. fargesii are supposed to be hardier.


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RE: Shrub identification?

Do birds eat the berries?

Helen Van Pelt ("The Fragrant Year") might agree with larry_gene as she characterizes the leaf smell as "rank."

This post was edited by harborrose on Fri, Nov 1, 13 at 11:42


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RE: Shrub identification?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 1, 13 at 22:06

I've never seen any bird action on it. Don't know what goes for it in the native area, but native birds here can be very species specific about what they concentrate their attentions on.


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RE: Shrub identification?

No bird action down here in Portland, either. And I was referring to the aroma of the blossoms. I don't find it unpleasant, but then I like the smell of phenolics.


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RE: Shrub identification?

I also learned the tree blooms in late summer, not spring, as I thought. Too bad about the birds, though. Interesting that Forest Farm says it's hardy to zone 6, 0 to -10 F, but Van Pelt seems to say it's not really very hardy either. She agrees that var. fargesii is hardier but the fragrance is "unpleasant."

larry_gene, I'm curious what you think the leaves smell like if bboy's bloom description of "wafting, tropical" smells like burnt rubber to you. Van Pelt describes the blooms as "emanations of lily and nicotiana." Fragrance detection is so individual.

Thanks for the interesting information.


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