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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Saturday - May 23, 2015

From: Valley Falls, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of cinnamon-scented bush from Pennsylvania
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I had a "bush" in PA that the woman who sold it to me called a cinnamon bush. It had long branches with large (approx 5" long and 3" wide) dark green leaves attached evenly along each side of the branch. The buds opened to many petaled, 1/2 flat, dark purplish brown, about 4-5" diameter flowers that smelled cinnamonish. It grew from 12" to 6' in a couple of years. It was very leggy and we trimmed from the top. I live in NY now and I would love to get another one or three! Can you help?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks the identity for your shrub is Calycanthus floridus (Eastern sweetshrub).  Here are more descriptions of it from Missouri Botanical Garden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension and Clemson University Cooperative Extension.  The USDA Plants Database distribution map does show it occurring in Pennsylvania and New York and you appear to be located in Zone 5 of the USDA Hardiness Zone Map and the Missouri Botanical Garden site says that it is hardy in zones 4 through 9.  You can check our National Suppliers Directory for nurseries near you that carry native plants for possible sources of this plant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern sweetshrub
Calycanthus floridus

Eastern sweetshrub
Calycanthus floridus

Eastern sweetshrub
Calycanthus floridus

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