With Butterflyfest and restoration work (mostly) complete in the “Butterfly Rainforest,” the Rambles has had time to breathe and is back with the beautiful Nodding Clerodendrum, Clerodendrum wallichii. It’s not fall in the “Rainforest” until this weeping relative of Pagoda Flower, Clerodendrum paniculatum, comes into bloom. Sadly this amazing plant does not produce a scent, despite many visitors attempts to smell them, nor is it an especially good nectar source.
Native to east Asia, this lovely shrub likes it on the dark side, preferring shadier conditions, and can grow to at least 7 feet tall. In North Central Florida’s harshest winters it can freeze back, but usually returns in spring to bloom in fall like nothing ever happened. The plant is also known as Bridal Veil because of its pure white, pendulous blooms, but this name often applies to other plants as well so we have stuck with the less colorful Nodding Clerodendrum as no other plant bears it.
Florida Museum photos by Ryan Fessenden