Calycanthus occidentalis

15 Sep

Calycanthus occidentalis (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Calycanthus occidentalis (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 3m

Eventual Spread: 3m

Hardiness: 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a

Family: Calycanthaceae

Calycanthus occidentalis is a deciduous shrub with a bushy habit. Its dark green glossy leaves are ovate with entire margins, up to 20cm long and 8cm broad. Its leaves may turn yellow before they fall in autumn. Its red hermaphrodite fragrant flowers are borne solitary and up to 5cm across. Its roots produce suckers which aids its slow spread.

Calycanthus occidentalis Flower (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Calycanthus occidentalis Flower (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Calycanthus occidentalis, commonly known as the California Allspice or Western Sweetshrub, is native to south west USA. In its native habitat it grows in dappled woodland shade and river banks.

The etymological root of the binomial name Calycanthus is derived from the Greek kalyx meaning ‘a covering’ and anthos meaning ‘ flower’. Occidentalis is from the Latin meaning ‘from the west’.

The landscape architect may find Calycanthus occidentalis useful as an attractive flowering specimen shrub suitable for a dappled shade location. It may also be planted and cut as a hedge.

Calycanthus occidentalis Leaf (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Calycanthus occidentalis Leaf (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically,  Calycanthus occidentalis flowers are pollinated by small beetles.

Calycanthus occidentalis prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislikes dry soils.

Calycanthus occidentalis requires little maintenance.

Davis Landscape Architecture

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