The species of Volkameria are mostly shrubs, sometimes subshrubs or lianas, rarely small trees. The stems have swollen nodes. The flowers are usually fragrant. The fruit matures black or brown, separating into four corky pyrenes.
Volkameria was named by Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753. According to OED the genus was named after Johann Georg Volckamer (1616-1693), a German botanist, though other sources give credit to his son, Johann Georg Volckamer, the Younger (1662-1744), or to Johann Christoph Volkamer (1644-1720), another German botanist.
In 1895, John Isaac Briquet defined the genus Clerodendrum broadly, to include all of those species now placed in Rotheca, Clerodendrum, Volkameria, and Ovieda. This was considered questionable by many, but for the next 100 years, Briquet's circumscription was usually followed, mostly because of confusion and uncertainty regarding this group of at least 200 species.
In 2010, a molecular phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences showed that most of the Clerodendrum species that had been in Volkameria were more closely related to Aegiphila, Ovieda, Tetraclea, and Amasonia than to other species of Clerodendrum. (See the phylogenetic tree at Lamiaceae). Following these results, Volkameria was reinstated. Some species that had been erroneously placed in Volkameria were excluded. Some of the poorly known species in Clerodendrum might still need to be transferred to Volkameria.
The species of Volkameria are mostly shrubs, sometimes subshrubs or lianas, rarely small trees. The stems have swollen nodes. The flowers are usually fragrant. The fruit matures black or brown, separating into four corky pyrenes.Volkameria acerbiana Vis. - northeastern Africa from Egypt to Tanzania and west to Chad; also Guinea-Bissau + Gambia in West Africa Volkameria aculeata L. - West Indies, northern South America, Honduras, Veracruz State in eastern Mexico Volkameria aggregata(Gürke) Mabb. & Y.W.Yuan - Madagascar Volkameria eriophylla (Gürke) Mabb. & Y.W.Yuan - eastern + southern Africa from Tanzania to Namibia Volkameria glabra (E.Mey.) Mabb. & Y.W.Yuan - western + southern Africa from South Africa to Somalia; Seychelles, Comoros Volkameria heterophylla Poir. - Mauritius, Réunion; naturalized in India, Madagascar, Australia Volkameria inermis L. - China, Indian Subcontinent, Australia, Pacific Islands Volkameria ligustrina Jacq. - Mexico, Central America Volkameria mollis (Kunth) Mabb. & Y.W.Yuan - Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Galápagos Volkameria pittieri (Moldenke) Mabb. & Y.W.Yuan - Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador