Calycanthus floridus L. - Carolina Allspice


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Calycanthus floridus - (image 1 of 7)



Family: Calycanthaceae (Strawberry-shrub family)


Rich mountain woods. Adaptable to acid or alkaline soils and is somewhat drought tolerant. Can be grown in shade or sun but does best in part shade.




Southern NY, southern PA and southern OH south to GA, northwest FL, and southeast MS.


Dense, often irregular shrub 1-3 m tall; usually a little taller than wide. Leaves opposite, simple, elliptic, broadly acute to acuminate, to 15 cm long, entire, glossy dark green above and gray green and densely pubescent below; petiole to 1/3" long. Stems glabrous, gray-brown; leaf scars u-shaped, no terminal bud. Flowers perfect, deep red-brown to reddish, to 7 cm wide, with an odd fragrance; petals and sepals similar, numerous.      


Flowers mid April to June, sporadically into July.

Wetland indicator: Facultative Upland +

Also called Sweet Shrub, the entire plant emits a spicy fragrance when bruised. The flowers are not particular showy but are interesting close up and have an interesting aroma, like that of an old whiskey barrel. There are some yellow-flowered cultivars.


Dirr, Michael A. 1998. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses.
5th ed. Champaign, Illinois: Stipes Publishing L.L.C.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA




 Michael Hough 2004