Other Common Names:
The other common name for the plant calycanthus are Sweetshrub, Carolina allspice, strawberry shrub and Pineapple shrub.
Calycanthus is a genus of flowering plants native to North America and also known as Carolina allspice. This is a wonderful, deciduous shrub with shiny green leaves and carmine magnolia-like flowers.
This easy to grow shrub has many names and all of them say something about the beautiful scent of the flowers: sweetshrub, strawberry shrub, or even pineapple shrub. That's because of the deliciously scented flowers which smell like a blend of strawberry jam and apple juice.Sweetshrub is readily available in superior type nurseries and it is used in the home landscape more in the UK than in the US where it resides more in connoisseur gardens.
Eastern sweetshrub or Carolina allspice is a 6-12 ft., deciduous shrub with glossy, aromatic, leathery, dark-green foliage. It's with erect; multiple stems create a rounded outline and can colonize into a clump. The sweet shrub bush has opposite, simple, smooth-margined leaves. The leaves usually turn yellow before leaf drop. But the most notable feature of this plant is fragrance. The petals of the brownish maroon to red magnolia-like flowers integrate with the sepals.
The pear-shaped or egg-shaped fruiting body contains many dry, single-seeded achenes.The innermost parts of the perianth-the stamens and staminodes-have white granular food bodies at their tips on which the beetles feed. Flowers are bisexual and are composed of numerous tepals .The flowers of this family are remarkably adapted for pollination by beetles. Terminal blossoms are solitary and dark red with numerous overlapping, strap-like petals. Flower is often quite fragrant. Leaves become yellow in fall but are usually not effective. It blooms most heavily in spring and then sporadically until the end of the season with the beautiful flowers tucked seductively among the leaves.
Calycanthus floridus is native to eastern North America and is also found in the moist woodlands of the southeastern United States. Its range extends from Virginia, south to Florida, and west to Mississippi. It also grows well in Australia and New Zealand.
Sweetshrub thrives best in forest or natural area in low woods, clearings and along stream banks; landscape as native, cultivated flowering shrub. It either grows in full sun or shade or likes moist rich soil.
This ornamental plant though prefers a sunny position but it tolerates shade when grown in warm temperate zones. Seed are 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. Dried seed germinates in 1 - 6 months at 15c.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 take place in July or August in a frame and layering in spring. Sever the new plants in a wet spell of weather about 15 months later and then lift them in the autumn. They can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required. Sweetshrub requires a sheltered position to protect from cold winds.
The dark brown or the maroon flowers of the sweetshrub are in bloom from May through July. Blooms first appear in mid spring and continue into mid summer.
Pests and Diseases
Calycanthus floridus is very resistant to disease and insect problems. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. It has a prolific suckering habit, adapts to many soils and grows taller in shaded places. Rarely white-footed mice and downy woodpeckers hammer away the sacs so as to get to the seeds.
The barks, roots and the flowers are the most commonly used parts of the plant for its commercial, medicinal and of ornamental value.
• Sweetshrub is used as a condiment where the leaves, root and bark are dried and used as a substitute for cinnamon.
• It is medicinally used as a diuretic and emmenagogue.
• An infusion of the bark has been used to treat urinary problems.
• The roots are used as an emetic to make eye drops for treating eye problems.
• The ooze of the bark is used for treating sores in children.
• Sweetshrub is also nice in planters near entryways and patios where its delicate fragrance can be enjoyed.
• Dry the flowers, leaves, twigs and bark to use in potpourri.
• Its interesting foliage and flowers also provide beautiful spring and summer backdrops for shorter shrubs and flowering perennials.