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Calycanthus occidentalis Hook. & Arn.
Western sweetshrub, California sweet shrub, Spice bush, Western spicebush
USDA Symbol: caoc5
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
A mound-shaped, deciduous shrub, Western sweetshrub grows 6-15 ft. tall, with erect, multiple stems and glossy, aromatic, leathery, dark-green foliage. Terminal blossoms are solitary and dark red with numerous overlapping, strap-like petals. Unlike its eastern relative, Calycanthus floridus, the flowers of this sweet shrub are not fragrant. Leaves become yellow in fall but are usually not showy.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Opposite Leaf Shape: Lanceolate
, Ovate Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous Leaf Margin: Entire Leaf Apex: Acute Leaf Base:
Rounded Size Notes:
Height and spread 4-12 feet. Flower:
Flowers up to 3 inches across.
1-1 1/4 inches long. Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Pink , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Each bloom only lasts 1-2 days.
CA Native Distribution:
CA Coast Ranges & w. Sierra Nevadas from Tulare Co. to Shasta Co. Native Habitat:
Moist stream banks below 4000 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Calycanthus occidentalis will develop leaf burn if planting site is too dry.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Introduced into cultivation in 1831.
Use Other: Wood used by indigenous peoples for arrows.
Fragrant Foliage: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Clump Division , Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Sow fresh, untreated seeds or store and stratify.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Prune only if needed.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
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Record Modified: 2011-01-08
Research By: TWC Staff