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Calycanthus occidentals Hook. & Arn.

Californian Allspice

Modern name

Calycanthus occidentalis Hook. & Arn.


C. macrophyllus Hort.

A loose habited, deciduous, aromatic shrub of stronger growth than the other species, and sometimes 12 ft high. Leaves the largest in the genus, varying from 3 to 8 in. in length, and in shape from heart-shaped and ovate to lanceolate; rough, dark green, and not downy above, paler and bright green beneath. Flowers 2 to 3 in. across; the sepals and petals purplish red, changing to a more tawny shade near the tips; rather unpleasantly scented. Bot. Mag., t. 4808.

Native of California, where it commonly grows near the banks of streams; introduced by Douglas in 1831. This is the least desirable of the American allspices, being of rather ungainly habit. Its larger growth, foliage, and flowers distinguish it from the other species; as its leaves beneath are neither very downy like floridus nor glaucous like fertilis, it is only likely to be confused with the var. laevigatus of the latter. But both leaves and wood when bruised have a much stronger aromatic, spicy odour, and the flowers are paler, redder, larger, and longer-stalked. Summer leaf-buds exposed.



Other species in the genus