Friday, July 2, 2010

Eastern Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)

Calycanthus floridus known by a wide variety of common names: Eastern Sweetshrub, Carolina Allspice, Sweet Shrub, Spicebush, or Sweet Betsy. Two varieties – C. floridus var glaucus and C. floridus var. floridus – grow in this area. The leaves of C. floridus var glaucus are covered with a grayish coating that is easily rubbed off; leaves of C. floridus var. floridus have a fine, short hairs on the underside.

At Fort Yargo State Park I’ve found this plant growing in the shade along the Rock Garden trail (segment 12) and south of the Fishing Area (segment 13). The most striking characteristic of this plant were the leaves that were rolled longitudinally and were strikingly gray underneath. I could spot the plants early in the Spring by their rolled leaves. The leaves uncurl gradually.

I didn’t see the flowers at first because they are dark red and blend into the green of the leaves in the deep shade in the woods so I was only able to get photos of older flowers that were past their best. I’ll be on the lookout earlier next year. Based on the underside of the leaf, this is probably Calycanthus floridus var. glaucus.

The plants are small shrubs about 30 inches high and spreading.

In the early Spring, I could spot them because the leaves were curled in the direction of the length of the leaf.

A flower. I didn’t spot the flowers for a while. They were past their best.

The fruit is developing, You can spot it below the dead flower.

A developing fruit

A fully developed fruit. It had disappeared the following week.

Calycanthus floridus
is native to the United States. The range of the two varieties overlap. C. floridus var floridus has a wider range than C. floridus var glaucus.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:

United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database:

- Calycanthus floridus var. glaucus (Eastern Sweetshrub)

- Calycanthus floridus var. floridus (Eastern Sweetshrub)

University of North Carolina Herbarium:

- Calycanthus floridus var glaucus

- Calycanthus floridus var floridus

Identification resources:

- Southeastern Flora: Eastern Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)

- Native & Naturalized Plants of Georgia and the Carolinas.
Eastern Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus var. glaucus)
- Alabama Plants: Calycanthus floridus

Related posts:

- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower

No comments: