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Calycanthus floridus

Phonetic Spelling
kal-ee-KAN-thus FLOR-id-us
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Calycanthus floridus, commonly called Carolina allspice, is a dense, rounded deciduous shrub with a suckering habit which grows 6-9' (less frequently to 12') tall with an equal or slightly greater spread.  Sweet shrub grows best in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. It will grow somewhat taller in shade than in sun. It is tolerant of a wide range of soils, but prefers rich loams. Prune immediately after flowering to shape or maintain compactness. It tends to sucker and often forms colonies in the wild. Remove root suckers promptly if naturalization is not desired.

It is best to purchase this plant when in flower because the quality and intensity of the fragrance can vary widely from plant to plant. Also commonly called sweetshrub and strawberry bush in reference to the fragrant blooms which have been described as combining hints of pineapple, strawberry and banana. Further common name of hairy allspice is in reference to the hairy twigs and leaf undersides of this plant. 

TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Solitary maroon flowers on short axillary shoots
  • Bark of deciduous shrub is aromatic when bruised
  • Flowers are fruit-scented
  • Leaves are opposite, grey-green & pubescent underneath

Deciduous shrub to 10', broadly rounded. 

Blooms in early spring before leaves emerge, with leaves and sporadically thereafter; flowers are fruit-scented and vary plant to plant; aroma is stronger in higher temperatures; a native plant. 

Tolerant cold, heat; soil adaptable; pH adaptable; tolerates full sun or shade; intolerant drought; relatively pest/disease free

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Athens'
  • 'Edith Wilder'
  • 'Katherine'
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#deciduous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#edible flowers#playground#cpp#low flammability#insect pest tolerant#children's garden#fire resistant#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Athens'
  • 'Edith Wilder'
  • 'Katherine'
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#deciduous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#edible flowers#playground#cpp#low flammability#insect pest tolerant#children's garden#fire resistant#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Calycanthus
    Species:
    floridus
    Family:
    Calycanthaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern United States
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Butterflies nectar at the blooms. Other insects also feed at the flowers, especially beetles.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer resistant, drought tolerant, resistant to fire in landscape.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Brownish, urn-shaped fruits (seed capsules) which mature in fall and persist throughout the winter. An urceolate capsule, brown and leathery, enclosing multiple 1-seeded achenes.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Very fragrant, brown to reddish-brown flowers (2" across) which bloom at the ends of short branchlets. Solitary on short axillary lateral shoots, maroon, aromatic; sepals and petals similar, spreading.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Lustrous, dark green (pale beneath), turn golden yellow in fall; leaves are opposite, simple, rough to the touch and aromatic when bruised. Opposite, simple, oval or oblong, acute or acuminate or (rarely) obtuse, cuneate, gray-green, densely pubescent below.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Bark Description:
    thin, lenticeled, and fragrant
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Description:
    Stout, gray-brown, glabrous, aromatic when bruised; pith large, white, somewhat hexagonal, continuous.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Predatory Insects
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Fire
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Convulsions, elevated blood pressure
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Calycanthin and related alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Seeds