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Calycanthus occidentalis - Hook.&Arn.

Common Name Californian Allspice, Western sweetshrub
Family Calycanthaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards Calycanthus contains calycanthine, an alkaloid similar to strychnine, and it is toxic to humans and livestock[270].
Habitats Banks of streams, ponds and other wet places below 1200 metres[11, 184].
Range South-western N. America - California.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Calycanthus occidentalis Californian Allspice, Western sweetshrub


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Calycanthus occidentalis Californian Allspice, Western sweetshrub
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Calycanthus occidentalis is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower from June to September, 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. macrophyllus.

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 and all spice[11, 105]. 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.
Expectorant  Stomachic

The bark is expectorant[257]. A decoction of the fresh or dried bark has been used in the treatment of sore throats, severe colds and stomach disorders[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

Basketry  Dye

A light brown dye is obtained from the flowers[168]. The wood and the bark from fresh shoots has been used in basket making[257].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Scented Plants

References

Cultivation details

Prefers a light loamy soil that is deep and moist but succeeds in most fertile soils if they are not shallow[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]. Plants are hardy to about -15°c[184]. The leaves and the flowers are very aromatic according to one report[188], whilst another says that the leaves and wood are pleasantly aromatic, whilst the flowers have no scent[245]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].

References

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

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, Mexico, North America, 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 floridusCarolina Allspice, Eastern sweetshrub, Strawberry Bush, Sweetshrub, Carolina AllspiceShrub2.7 5-10 MLMSNM322
Calycanthus floridus glaucusEastern SweetshrubShrub3.0 5-9  LMHSNM21 

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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Expert comment

Author

Hook.&Arn.

Botanical References

11200270

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

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