Gerald L. Klingaman
CALYCANTHUS floridus 'Athens'
Plant Common Name
Athens Sweetshrub, Sweetshrub
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
Late spring's fruit-and spice-scented, greenish yellow flowers makes 'Athens' a terrific selection of Carolina allspice for the garden. A rounded and spreading deciduous shrub, it is native to the extreme southeastern United States, from Virginia to Florida. Its foliage is pretty, oval with a gracefully and elegantly pointed tip, and semi-glossy green to dark green with a lighter gray-green underside. As the leaves begin to emerge in spring, the flowers appear on short stems. They open a sheepishly green-yellow and mature more yellow, and look like a stumpy, multi-legged octopus. Wonderfully fragrant, the scent is like a combination of a warm, sweet fruit salad, some say distinctly of strawberries. Pollinated flowers become urn-shaped brown capsules that are also fragrant if broken. In autumn the leaves turn yellow.
Plant yellow Carolina allspice in any humusy soil that has good drainage, in partial sun or partial shade. It is tolerant of deeper shade and drier soils, but will not grow as robustly or flower as heavily as a gardener would hope. It is lovely as part of a mixed shrub border or foundation planting, and should be located near a patio or walkway so the floral fragrance can be noted. Prune for shape only after flowering ends in midsummer. Make sure to select shrubs when in bloom at the nursery to ensure the specimen has a fragrance that is most appealing.
AHS Heat Zone
9 - 1
USDA Hardiness Zone
5 - 9
3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17
Partial Sun, Partial Shade
6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m
6'-12' / 1.8m - 3.7m
Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer
United States, Southeastern United States
Spring, Summer, Fall