Sweetshrub, Calycanthus

Calycanthus is a genus of flowering plant found in North America. The plant belongs to the Calycanthaceae family. It is commonly known as the Sweetshrub. The genus includes 2 species that are accepted by the Flora of North America and 2 that may or may not be, depending on taxonomic interpretation.

Calycanthus is a shrub that grows around 6 to 12 feet tall. The plant contains entire and opposite leaves measuring 2 to 6 inches long and .8 t0 2.5 inches wide. Its flowers bloom in early summer after the leaves. Flowers measure anywhere from 1.5 to 3 inches in diameter, with several spirally arranged and narrow blood red petals. It bears resemblance to the magnolia flower. Calycanthus flowers are strongly scented and carry an aroma of bubblegum. The fruit is a dry capsule that carries multiple seeds. It measures 2 to 2.75 inches long. Oil from the Calycanthus is distilled from the flowers and is used as a main ingredient in some quality perfumes.

The 2 recognized species are Calycanthus floridus and Calycanthus occidentalis. C. floridus is commonly referred to as the Carolina sweetshrub and is found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Mississippi and northern Florida. C. occidentalis is commonly referred to as the California spicebush and is found widespread in California and the Seattle area of Washington.

Image Caption: California spicebush (Calycanthus occidentalis). Credit: Scott/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)