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Clethra acuminata (Mountain pepperbush)
Cressler, Alan

Clethra acuminata

Clethra acuminata Michx.

Mountain Pepperbush, Mountain Sweet Pepperbush, Cinnamon Clethra

Clethraceae (Clethra Family)


USDA Symbol: CLAC3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A 12-20 ft., multi-stemmed shrub with exfoliating, red-brown bark. Dark-green foliage turns yellow-orange in fall. Dense, terminal, drooping spikes of white flowers are spicily perfumed and are followed by brown capsules which persist through winter.

No serious disease, insect or physiological problems. Often suckers.


From the Image Gallery

19 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AL , GA , KY , NC , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV
Native Distribution: Mts. of PA & WV to extreme n. GA mts.
Native Habitat: Wooded mt. bluffs & ravines

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Acid, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: No serious disease, insect or physiological problems. Often suckers.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Propagate by seed or softwood cuttings, with or without hormone treatment, under mist.
Seed Treatment: Tiny seeds require no pretreatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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