TREES & plants


 Carolina-Allspice is a dense, rounded shrub reaching 6 to 9 feet high. It has unusual, strap-like, maroon to reddish-brown flowers with a sweet banana-strawberry fragrance.  Fruit is a persistent, urn-shape brown seed pod.

Botanical name: 
Calycanthus floridus
All Common Names: 
Carolina-Allspice, Carolina Allspice, Common Sweetshrub, Sweetshrub, Spicebush
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
  • Zone 9
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
  • Medium
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Occasional drought
  • Occasional flooding
  • Clay soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Alkaline soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Sandy soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant
  • Purple
  • Red
Size Range: 
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Irregular
  • Mounded
  • Round
  • Thicket-forming
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Mixed border
  • Screen
Time of Year: 
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
More Information: 

Size and Form

6 to 10 feet high and wide; rounded form

Tree & Plant Care

Prune after flowering, may need renewal pruning if it becomes leggy.

Disease, pests and problems

No serious problems

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to the southeastern U.S.

Bark color and texture 

Smooth gray brown bark; fragrant when scratched.

Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus)Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus)photo: John Hagstrom

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, opposite, 2 to 6 inches long;  elliptical to obovate, leathery, dark green
to yellow-green in fall

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers appear before the leaves.
Large, 2-inch wide solitary flowers  with numerous maroon to reddish-brown strap-like petals.
Strawbery-banana-pineapple  fragrance

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Unusual, leathery, urn-shaped fruiting capsules ripen and turn brown in September-October.
Persist into winter

Cultivars and their differences 

Athens (Calycanthus floridus 'Athens'):  A dense, mounded 6 foot high shrub with yellow, very fragrant flowers