Marc Frank UF|IFAS, Extension Botanist with the U.F.|IFAS Herbarium, alerted me (Jan. 13, 2020) to the new name, Rotheca microphylla (Clerodendrum incisum), sometimes referred to as ‘Musical Note’. This flower display strikes a winning chord in the small shrub orchestra. This species from Nigeria to Madagascar is one of the lesser known in the large Clerodendrum group. And, unusual for a Clerodendrum species, this one makes my “short shrub” list at 3 to 5 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide; it needs little pruning. This is a repeat bloomer and produces flowers almost monthly, if left unsheared.
Watching the four-inch long, trumpet shaped blossoms expand from a little nubbin (see pics below) and briefly resemble a soprano-range, eighth note is a wonder. As the flower stretches, the club portion or end of the “note” splits and flattens into a corolla resembling a small white butterfly. And what many are curious to know, “How would you categorize this inflorescence?” Marc’s reply: ” The inflorescence is a congested terminal (and sometimes upper axillary) cyme–a broad flat determinate inflorescence with the central flower maturing first.”