Please submit a search term.

Calycanthus floridus

This plant has poison characteristics. See below.
Common Name(s):
Carolina allspice, Spicebush, Sweet Betsy, Sweet shrub, Sweetshrub, sweet bubby bush
Cultivar(s):
Athens, Katherine , Edith Wilder , Athens
Categories:
Native Plants, Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Comment:

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. 

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. U.S. native from Virginia to Florida.

Its bark is light brown, thin, lenticeled, and fragrant.  

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:  Spring            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer/fall

Seed: Achene

Play Value: Wildlife Enhancement

Wildlife Value:  This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  Butterflies nectar at the blooms.  Other insects also feed at the flowers, especially beetles.  

 

Description:
Height:
6-10 ft.
Foliage:
This plant has lustrous, dark green (pale beneath), ovate to elliptic leaves to 6" long turn golden yellow in fall. The leaves are opposite, simple, rough to the touch. They are aromatic when bruised. The yellow fall foliage (varies among seedlings) persists into late fall.
Flower:
The Sweet shrub features very fragrant, brown to reddish-brown flowers (2" across) which bloom at the ends of short branchlets in May. The flowers give way to brownish, urn-shaped fruits (seed capsules) which mature in fall and persist throughout the winter.
Zones:
4 to 9
Habit:
Deciduous
Site:
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.
Texture:
Medium
Form:
Dense, bushy, rounded shrub with an irregular outline; can become straggly and unkempt in appearance
Exposure:
Sun to partial shade; range of soil types
Fruit:
Maroon to dark rusty brown flowers with a variable fragrance (strong to none)
Family:
Calycanthaceae
Origin:
USA, NC
Distribution:
Throughout
Poison Part:
Seeds
Poison Delivery Mode:
Ingestion
Symptoms:
Convulsions, elevated blood pressure
Toxic Principle:
Calycanthin and related alkaloids
Severity:
TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN.
Found in:
Forest or natural area in low woods, clearings and along stream banks; landscape, as native, cultivated flowering shrub
Width:
6-12 ft.
Tags:
deciduous, drought tolerant, deer resistant, play, playground, fragrant, butterflies, children’s garden

NCCES plant id: 449

Calycanthus floridus Calycanthus floridus
Calycanthus floridus Calycanthus floridus
Calycanthus floridus Calycanthus floridus
Calycanthus floridus fruit
Phillip Merit, CC BY-NC-SA - 2.0
Calycanthus floridus habit
Phillip Merit, CC BY-NC-SA - 2.0
Calycanthus floridus leaves & flowers habit
Madeleine Bell, CC-BY-SA-2.0