The tropicalesque leaves in the above picture come from a peculiar plant from Southeast Asia - clerodendrun bungei. This plant is also known as Kashmir Bouquet, Mexican hydrangea, and rose glory bower. The stems and veins are an interesting purple contrast to the deep green leaves on this plant.
The flower buds form a cluster of purple atop the plant that reminds me of berries. They usually start these buds sometime in mid-May.
The buds open up to form this large bloom head of lavender flowers that resembles hydrangeas and smells (I am told) like the old Kashmir Bouquet soap. I personally think they smell just like Fruit Loops cereal - a very pleasant fragrance to me. Most readers of this blog know that I love fragrant plants, so I have a soft spot for this much-maligned plant.
Maligned, you ask? That's because of the invasive nature of this innocent-looking exotic. Once planted, it will send out underground runners in all directions causing more of the plants to come up everywhere, sometimes more than 10 feet away from the original plant. I knew this from the beginning and planted my original in a far corner of my yard where I actually want it to take over. If you are unprepared for this habit, then plant this one in a container or not at all. It enjoys filtered shade around bigger trees and is quite tolerant of drought - this year in Louisiana is proof of that! The plants can get up to 6' tall, though mine have yet to get taller than about 4'.