Clethra alnifolia  L. - Summersweet


 

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Clethera alnifolia - (image 1 of 4)

 

Taxonomy

Family: Clethraceae

Habitat

Moist acid soils.

Associates

 

Distribution

Native range extends from TX along the coastal states to ME.

Morphology

Perennial, suckering, woody shrub to about 8' high and 6' wide. Leaves alternate, simple, obovate, 2-4" long and 3/4-2" wide. Sharply serrate, upper surface glabrous and dark green. Flowers normally white, petals 5, fragrant, in upright racemes, both terminal and auxiliary.    

Notes

Flowers July into August

Wetland indicator: Facultative Wetland

The last three images are of the cultivar 'Ruby spice', with pink flowers. The plant is a good addition to the landscape, perfect for moist or wet areas. Fall color can be a good yellow although rarely spectacular. Tends to to need rejuvenation pruning on a regular basis. The fragrance reminds me of bubblegum.

References

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

 

USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov).

National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

 


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 Michael Hough 2004