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CALYCANTHUS occidentalis

Image of Calycanthus occidentalis

JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University

Family

Calycanthaceae

Botanical Name

CALYCANTHUS occidentalis

Plant Common Name

Western Sweetshrub

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Lustrous, glossy green leaves and fragrant, dark red blossoms make western sweetshrub a lovely plant for the mixed border. A fast growing spreading shrub that is deciduous, it is native to the moist valleys and streambanks in Washington and California's coastal mountains, as well as the western Sierra Nevadas. The leaves are oblong ovals, glossy mid- to dark green in color and with a slightly roughened texture on the upper surface. In spring or summer, depending on warmth of the climate, small, plump, wide strap-like petaled flowers arise from stem tips. They are red to dark red in color, often with brown tips, and emit an earthy, wine-like scent (as do the leaves if crushed).

Grow western sweetshrub in moist, average garden soils, avoiding highly alkaline or consistently dry areas. It is tolerant of seasonally soggy soils. Partial sun is ideal; too much sun without adequate soil moisture will cause leaves to brown, while too much shade reduces flowering and makes the shrub's branches clamber and become more vine-like. This is a lovely shrub to incorporate into a woodland setting or mixed shrub border, ideally in the background. A collection of plants can readily make a nice screen, too.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    5'-10' / 1.5m - 3.0m

  • Width

    6'-12' / 1.8m - 3.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    United States, Northwestern United States, California

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Dark Red, Brown

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Spotted/Mottled

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Chocolate

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes