Clerodendrum indicum: Tubeflower

Family: Verbenaceae
Common name: Tubeflower, Sky rocket, Bowing lady, Turk’s turban, Indian tubeflower

Tubeflower plants are small shrubs that grow vigorously reaching a height of about 3 m, commonly seen in the wild. The stem is woody towards the base, mostly straight with very few branches. Leaves are formed in beautiful whorls, 2-4 leaves radiating from a node in the stem.

Leaves are dark green on the top and light green below, with a unique, beautiful venation. Tubeflowers leaves can reach a length of 15-20 cm with a gently serrated margin.

Beautiful white or pink, tubular flowers are arranged in large clusters at the tip of the stem, each flower bent downwards giving the plant its name Bowing lady. The calyx or sepal cup is thick and fleshy to protect flowers and fruits.

Flowers tubes are about 8-10cm long and the petals are about 1cm in length. Flowers have prominent stamens and style, and are usually short-lived. Tubeflower plants later produce small drupe-like fruits that bluish-black on maturity.

Black fruits surrounded by red and fleshy calyxes make the plant very attractive. Flower are produced during spring and summer in tropical countries.

Tubeflower plants are sometimes grown as ornamental plants due to their beauty and the easy care it takes. They grow well in a variety of soils and can thrive in full sun to partial shade. This plant is adaptable to various climates and can grow well in tropical, subtropical, and even warm temperate regions.

Tubeflower plants are commonly used as a hedge plant and are also prized for the medicinal properties. Tender leaves are edible, though they have a bitter taste. They help in digestion, improving gut health and acting as a vermifuge.

Parts of this plant are used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine in the treatment of cuts, wounds, cough, asthma, diabetes, snake bites, skin disorders, and also to improve blood circulation. They have excellent anti-inflammatory properties helping in improving functions of digestive system, respiratory system, and circulatory system.

Propagation is through seeds or stem cuttings.