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Calycanthus occidentalis (Western sweetshrub)
Hardie-Scott, Linda

Calycanthus occidentalis

Calycanthus occidentalis Hook. & Arn.

Western sweetshrub, California sweet shrub, Spice bush, Western spicebush

Calycanthaceae (Sweetshrub Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: CAOC5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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 Characteristics

Duration: 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.
Fruit: 1-1 1/4 inches long.
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Pink , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Each bloom only lasts 1-2 days.

Distribution

USA: CA
Native Distribution: CA Coast Ranges & w. Sierra Nevadas from Tulare Co. to Shasta Co.
Native Habitat: Moist stream banks below 4000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light 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.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Introduced into cultivation in 1831.
Use Other: Wood used by indigenous peoples for arrows.
Fragrant Foliage: yes

Propagation

Propagation Material: Clump Division , Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Sow fresh, untreated seeds or store and stratify.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Prune only if needed.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

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, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Additional resources

USDA: Find Calycanthus occidentalis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Calycanthus occidentalis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Calycanthus occidentalis

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2011-01-08
Research By: TWC Staff

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