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Calycanthus floridus - L.

Common Name Carolina Allspice, Eastern sweetshrub, Strawberry Bush, Sweetshrub, Carolina Allspice
Family Calycanthaceae
USDA hardiness 5-10
Known Hazards Ruminants are reported to have a toxic reaction from grazing this plant[4, 222]. Calycanthus contains calycanthine, an alkaloid similar to strychnine, and it is toxic to humans and livestock[270].
Habitats Rich low shady woodlands[4, 43]. Deciduous or mixed woodlands, along streams and rivers, margins of woodlands from sea level to1850 metres[270].
Range South-eastern N. America - Virginia to Florida, west to Alberta and West Virginia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Calycanthus floridus Carolina Allspice,  Eastern sweetshrub, Strawberry Bush, Sweetshrub, Carolina Allspice


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Calycanthus floridus Carolina Allspice,  Eastern sweetshrub, Strawberry Bush, Sweetshrub, Carolina Allspice
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Summary

Bloom Color: Red. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early spring, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Rounded.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Calycanthus floridus is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2.7 m (8ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from October to November. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

C. sterilis.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment

The aromatic bark is dried and used as a substitute for cinnamon[2, 11, 46, 61, 105, 161, 183]. Some caution is advised, see reports above on toxicity[270].

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiperiodic  Antispasmodic  Cardiac  Disinfectant  Diuretic  Emetic  Ophthalmic  Skin


Antispasmodic, disinfectant[106, 169]. The plant contains an alkaloid that has a powerfully depressant action on the heart[4]. A fluid extract has been used as an antiperiodic[4]. A tea made from the root or bark has been used as a strong emetic and diuretic for kidney and bladder ailments[222, 257]. A cold tea has been used as eye drops in the treatment of failing eyesight[222, 257]. An ooze from the bark has been used to treat children's sores, whilst an infusion has been used to treat hives[257].

References

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An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More

FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

Disinfectant  Repellent

Leaves contain small quantities of camphor. They can be used as an insect repellent, perfume and disinfectant[169, 257].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Scented Plants

References

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Pest tolerant, Screen, Specimen. Prefers a light loamy soil that is deep and moist but succeeds in most fertile soils[11, 182]. Requires a well-drained soil[188]. Prefers a sunny position but it tolerates shade when grown in warm temperate zones[11, 200]. Requires a sheltered position, protected from cold winds[245]. Although the dormant plant is hardy to at least -20°c, the tender young growth in the spring can be damaged by late frosts[K]. All parts of the plant are richly fragrant[182]. The flowers have a refreshing scent of ripe apples[245]. The wood, leaves and roots smell strongly of camphor, whilst the bark smells like cinnamon[245]. This species is closely related to C. mohrii[182]. A very ornamental plant, there is at least one named variety developed for its ornamental value. 'Mrs Henry Type' is a large-flowered form[182]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features: North American native, Fragrant foliage, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Wetlands plant, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 9 through 1. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. A clumping plant, forming a colony from shoots away from the crown but with a limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is flat with shallow roots forming a plate near the soil surface [1-2]. The root pattern is suckering with new plants from underground runners away from the plant [1-2].

References

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. If the seed is harvested 'green' (as soon as it has fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and sown immediately it can germinate in 3 weeks[113]. Dried seed germinates in 1 - 6 months at 15°c[138]. Stored seed requires between 3 weeks and 3 months cold stratification before sowing in the spring. When large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. They can be difficult[113]. Layering in spring. Sever the new plants in a wet spell of weather about 15 months later and then lift them in the autumn[78]. High percentage[78]. Division of suckers in early spring[11]. Very easy, they can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Australia, Canada, North America, Tasmania, USA*,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Calycanthus floridus glaucusEastern SweetshrubShrub3.0 5-9  LMHSNM21 
Calycanthus occidentalisCalifornian Allspice, Western sweetshrubShrub3.0 6-9  LMSNM312

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Author

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Botanical References

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Readers comment

Lou Ann Epps   Thu May 10 2007

I haven't seen this plant since my grandmother's front yard, circa 1969!! I was so excited to have been able to purchase one locally! Thank you for all the information on your website. It was MOST helpful, I will be growing this wonderfully memorably fragrant shrub in my own yard. Thanks again, Lou Ann Epps.

Dianne Isley   Sat Jun 30 2007

Where can one purchase shrub? My grandmother had one passed it along to my mother but when she passed away the plant died. Is there any place locally to purchase one. Dianne

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