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.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- North America
- Mixed border,
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
- Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Acid soil,
- Alkaline soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil,
- Sandy soil
- Occasional drought,
- Occasional flooding,
- Clay soil
Season of Interest:
- Mid spring,
- Late spring
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Tree & Plant Care
A 6 to 10 feet high and wide shrub, typically rounded but can be open and loose.
Grows in sun to part shade, but thrives best in rich, moist soil in part shade. Protect in windy sites.
Shallow rooted and benefits with a layer of mulch to conserve moisture.
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.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, opposite, 2 to 6 inches long; elliptical to obovate, leathery, dark green
Yellow 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.
Very fragrant with a strawbery-banana-pineapple scent.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Unusual, leathery, urn-shaped fruiting capsules ripen and turn brown in September-October.
Persist into winter
Aphrodite sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus 'Aphrodite'): An upright, 4 to 6 feet high shrub with bright red flowers.
Athens sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus 'Athens'): A dense, mounded 6 foot high shrub with yellow, very fragrant flowers
Hartlage Wine sweetshrub (Calycanthus x raulstonii): This is a hybrid cross with showy, 2-inch wide, slightly fragrant , deep maroon flowers. Shrub reaches 6 to 8 feet high and wide. Excellent in sun or shade. Hardy to Zone 6. May be difficult to find in nurseries.
Venus sweetshrub (Calycanthus 'Venus'): This is a hybrid cross with white flowers with purple centers. The flowers are very fragrant. It does not produce fruit.