Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Calycanthus occidentalis Hook. & Arn.
Western sweetshrub, California sweet shrub, Spice bush, Western spicebush
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 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.
DistributionUSA: CA Native Distribution: CA
Coast Ranges & w. Sierra Nevadas from Tulare Co. to Shasta Co. Native Habitat:
Moist stream banks below 4000 ft.
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.
National Wetland Indicator Status
|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, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2011-01-08
Research By: TWC Staff