Wintersweet, Chimonanthus

Chimonanthus is commonly referred to as Wintersweet. It is a genus of flowering plant found in China. It is a part of the Calycanthaceae family. It is also exported to Iran, where it is called the Ice flower. The plant’s scientific name means winter flower in Greek.

Chimonanthus is shrub that grows around 6 to 43 feet tall. Its leaves are entire and opposite measuring 2.75 to 7.9 inches long and 1.2 to 2.75 inches wide. The flowers measure .94 to 1.2 inches wide, and display numerous spirally arranged yellow or white petals. The plant’s flowers bloom in late summer or early spring before the newer leaves and its flowers are strongly scented. The fruit it bears is a dry capsule containing seeds.

There are several recognized species of Chimonanthus, such as C. nitens, C. praecox, and C. salicifolius. C. praecox is the only species of this genus grown as an ornamental plant. It is widely grown for its spicily scented winter flowers.

This plant prefers medium sun exposure or sun-pocked shade. It thrives in fresh climate and soft, permeable ground. The flowers are known to be edible and may sometimes be used to flavor tea.

Image Caption: Wintersweet flower (Chimonathus praecox). Credit: Kurt Stuber/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)