Calycanthus floridus L.

eastern sweetshrub

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Eastern sweetshrub, also known as Carolina allspice, is a popular plant for cultivation due to its highly fruity-fragrant, reddish flowers and aromatic leaves, as well as its tolerance of a wide variety of soils. It readily suckers and can escape the garden to naturalize in the wild.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forest edges

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
Growth form
the plant is a shrub (i.e., a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
Leaf type
the leaf blade is simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaves per node
there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
Leaf duration
the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
armature on plant
the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns
Leaf blade length
50–150 mm
Leaf blade width
20–60 mm
Leaf stalk
the leaves have leaf stalks
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Bark texture
the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
Twig winter color
  • brown
  • gray
  • purple
  • red
Show All Characteristics
  • Buds or leaf scars
    Bud scar shape (Fraxinus)
    NA
    Collateral buds
    there are no collateral buds on the sides of the branches
    Leaf scar arrangement
    there are two leaf scars per node on the stem or twig
    Superposed buds
    there are no superposed buds on the branch
    Winter bud scales
    the winter bud is naked (not covered with scales)
  • Flowers
    Carpels fused
    the carpel is solitary or (if 2 or more) the carpels are not fused to one another
    Enlarged sterile flowers
    there are no enlarged sterile flowers on the plant
    Flower appearance
    the flowers appear before the leaves
    Flower petal color
    • brown
    • purple
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Hairs on ovary (Amelanchier)
    NA
    Hypanthium present
    the flower has a hypanthium
    Inflorescence position
    the inflorescences grow on older branches
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence has only one flower on it
    Number of pistils
    6 or more
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are fused to form a tube, cup, or bell shape
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble petals in color and texture
    Sepal cilia (Ilex)
    NA
    Sepal tip glands
    there are no glands at the tips of the sepal lobes
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are fused to each other (not other flower parts), at least near their bases
    Stamen number
    • 10
    • 11
    • 12
    • 13 or more
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not fused to one another
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    NA
    Fruit tissue origin
    the hypanthium of the flower becomes part of the fruit
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    • the fruit is an achene (dry, usually 1-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
    • the fruit is an aggregate (composed of multiple fused ovaries from one flower)
    Nut with spines (Fagaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    there are no wings on the fruit
  • Glands or sap
    Sap color
    the sap is clear and watery
    Stalked glands on fruit (Rosa)
    NA
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is a shrub (i.e., a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    • the underside of the leaf has hairs on it
    • the underside of the leaf has no hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    • the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    • the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf blade base shape
    • the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    • the base of the leaf blade is truncate (ends abruptly in a more or less straight line as though cut off)
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    Leaf blade bloom
    • the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    • there is a noticeable powdery or waxy bloom on the underside of the leaf
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    Leaf blade edges (Acer)
    NA
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    the hairs on the leaf blade are different from the choices given
    Leaf blade length
    50–150 mm
    Leaf blade scales
    there are no scales on the leaf blades
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is membranaceous (thin, flexible, almost translucent)
    Leaf blade translucent dots
    there are no translucent dots on the leaf blade
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the main veins of the leaf blade are pinnate (the secondary veins branch off at intervals from the main central vein) and non-arcuate (not arched towards the leaf tip)
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base toward the tip
    Leaf blade width
    20–60 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the plant is broad-leaved (with broadly flattened leaf blades)
    Leaf lobe tips (Quercus)
    NA
    Leaf midrib glands
    the midrib of the leaf blade lacks glands on the upper surface
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk nectaries
    there are no nectaries on the leaf stalk
    Leaf stalk shape
    the leaf stalk is not flattened
    Leaf teeth
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf teeth hairs (Carya)
    NA
    Leaf type
    the leaf blade is simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaves per node
    there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant, or they fall off as the leaf expands
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant has a pleasantly aromatic odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Aerial roots
    the plant has no aerial roots
    Bark texture
    the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
    Branch brittleness (willows only)
    NA
    Branch cross-section
    • the branch is circular in cross-section, or it has five or more sides, so that there are no sharp angles
    • the branch is roughly square or rectangular in cross-section, with four sides and four edges
    First-year cane (Rubus)
    NA
    Lenticels on twigs
    there are clearly lenticels on the twigs
    Twig bloom
    there is no bloom on the twig
    Twig hairs
    • the twigs have few or no hairs on them
    • the twigs have hairs, but the hairs do not have glands
    Twig papillae (Vaccinium species only)
    NA
    Twig scales
    there are no scales on the twig surface
    Twig winter color
    • brown
    • gray
    • purple
    • red
    Wings on branch
    the branch does not have wings on it
    armature on plant
    the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

var. floridus

Massachusetts
not applicable (S-rank: SNA)

var. glaucus

Massachusetts
not applicable (S-rank: SNA)

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Genus

Calycanthus

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Variety floridus is known from MA. Variety glaucus is known from CT, MA.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Calycanthus floridus L. E

eastern sweetshrub. 1b. Calycanthus fertilis Walt.; C. floridus L. var. laevigatus (Willd.) Torr. & Gray; C. glaucus Willd. • CT, MA. Forest edges, abandoned lots, near areas of human habitation.

1a.  Branchlets, petioles, and abaxial leaf blade surface densely pubescent 
 … 1a. C. floridus var. floridus

1b.  Branchlets, petioles, and abaxial leaf blade surface glabrous or sparsely pubescent 
 … 1b. C. floridus var. glaucus (Willd.) Torr. & Gray

Variety floridus is known from MA. Variety glaucus is known from CT, MA.