Virginia Tech Dendrology

sweet shrub Calycanthaceae Calycanthus occidentalis Hook. & Arn. Listen to the Latin symbol: CAOC5
Leaf: Opposite, simple, ovate to elliptical, 3 to 7 inches long, entire margin, scabrous and dark green above, pubescent beneath.
Flower: Red, 1 to 2 inches across, numerous long, thin sepals and petals, fragrance described as sweet to disagreeable, appear at ends of branches from late spring to late summer.
Fruit: Bell or deep bowl-shaped "capsule" containing numerous achenes, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, green turning to brown and becoming somewhat woody, borne on a short stalk, matures in late summer, persistent.
Twig: Moderate, brown, swollen at opposite leaf scars, initially pubescent, fuzzy brown buds, aromatic when broken.
Bark: Light gray-brown, lenticeled, becoming a bit scaly with age.
Form: Upright, round multi-stemmed shrub up to 10 feet tall. .
Looks like: common sweetshrub - buttonbush
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Calycanthus occidentalis is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting sweet shrub.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson