Calycanthus occidentalis

Common Name:
Spice bush
Plant Type:
Deciduous shrub
Calycanthaceae (The Spicebush Family)
Geographic Origin:
California Native?:
Plant Size:
8 feet high
Landscape/Garden Uses:
Foundation plantings
Flowering Season:
Flower Color:
Purplish red
Sun or light shade
Most soils
Suggested Irrigation:
Moderate watering
Estimated Hardiness:
Hardy to 10 degrees F. or less
This delightful shrub is often encountered along streamsides in northern California. It is of highly variable size, mostly around 8 feet in the stock from which our seed was collected, and rounded in form. The twigs are dark brown at first, becoming greyish in age. The broad leaves are up to 6 inches long and bright green in color, with a softly shiny upper surface. The flowers are brownish red in color and have an odd fragrance something like an old wine barrel (some descriptions are less complimentary). Spice bush will thrive in sun or part shade, in most non-alkaline soils, with moderate to regular watering.