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Calycanthus occidentalis
Calycanthus occidentalis

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Zones 4-9, 14-24, 29-32
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Full, Partial, Shade
Regular Water
Seeds can produce convulsions.

Calycanthus occidentalis

Spice Bush
Deciduous, Shrubs


Bulky, clump-forming shrubs with lush foliage and flowers valued for their fragrance and form. Blooms are produced at the ends of the current season’s growth. Best to remove twiggy or crowded stems annually; but for best appearance, don’t prune further.

Calycanthus occidentalis

Native along streams, moist slopes in California’s Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada foothills. Grows 6–12 ft. high and wide. Bright green leaves are 2–6 in. long, 1–2 in. wide, turn yellow in fall. Brownish red flowers to 2 in. across, resembling small water lilies, appear in mid- to late spring or summer, depending on climate. Both flowers and bruised leaves have the fragrance of an old wine barrel.

Can be trained into a multistemmed small tree, but is most useful as a background shrub or medium to tall screen. Easily grown from seed.

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