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Calycanthus

Calycanthus

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Calycanthus is a genus of flowering plant
Flowering plant
The flowering plants , also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies...

s in the family Calycanthaceae
Calycanthaceae
The Calycanthaceae is a small family of flowering plants included in the order Laurales. The family contains four genera and only 6-11 species, restricted to warm temperate and tropical regions:...

, endemic
Endemic (ecology)
Endemism is the ecological state of being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. For example, all species of lemur are endemic to the...

 to North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. The genus includes two to four species depending on taxonomic interpretation; two are accepted by the Flora of North America.

They are deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 shrub
Shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...

s growing to 2-4 m tall. The leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 are opposite, entire, 5-15 cm long and 2-6 cm broad. The flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s are produced in early summer after the leaves, 4-7 cm broad, with numerous spirally-arranged narrow dark red tepal
Tepal
Tepals are elements of the perianth, or outer part of a flower, which include the petals or sepals. The term tepal is more often applied specifically when all segments of the perianth are of similar shape and color, or undifferentiated, which is called perigone...

s (resembling a small magnolia
Magnolia
Magnolia is a large genus of about 210 flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae. It is named after French botanist Pierre Magnol....

 flower); they are strongly scented. The fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 is an elliptic dry capsule
Capsule (fruit)
In botany a capsule is a type of simple, dry fruit produced by many species of flowering plants. A capsule is a structure composed of two or more carpels that in most cases is dehiscent, i.e. at maturity, it splits apart to release the seeds within. A few capsules are indehiscent, for example...

 5-7 cm long, containing numerous seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

s.

The bark has a strong camphor
Camphor
Camphor is a waxy, white or transparent solid with a strong, aromatic odor. It is a terpenoid with the chemical formula C10H16O. It is found in wood of the camphor laurel , a large evergreen tree found in Asia and also of Dryobalanops aromatica, a giant of the Bornean forests...

 smell that is released when stems are scraped. The smell remains strong on twigs that have been stored several years in a dry environment. The scent of the flower has been compared to bubblegum. Calycanthus oil, distilled from the flowers, is an essential oil used in some quality perfumes.

Species

  • Calycanthus floridus (Carolina sweetshrub), Pennsylvania
    Pennsylvania
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

     and Ohio
    Ohio
    Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

     south to Mississippi
    Mississippi
    Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

     and northern Florida
    Florida
    Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

    • Calycanthus floridus var. floridus (syn. C. mohrii), twigs pubescent (hairy)
    • Calycanthus floridus var. glaucus (syn. C. fertilis), twigs glabrous (smooth)
  • Calycanthus occidentalis (California spicebush), California
    California
    California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

     (widespread) , and Washington (localized Seattle area).


Cultivation


Garden uses
Calycanthus floridus and Calycanthus occidentalis are cultivated as ornamental plant
Ornamental plant
Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as house plants, for cut flowers and specimen display...

s for traditional gardens and native plant
Native plant
Native plant is a term to describe plants endemic or naturalized to a given area in geologic time.This includes plants that have developed, occur naturally, or existed for many years in an area...

 landscapes.

The oldest known member of the genus that has found its way into gardens, C. florida, which Mark Catesby
Mark Catesby
Mark Catesby was an English naturalist. Between 1731 and 1743 Catesby published his Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, the first published account of the flora and fauna of North America...

 noted (1732) in the woodlands of Piedmont Carolina
Piedmont (United States)
The Piedmont is a plateau region located in the eastern United States between the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the main Appalachian Mountains, stretching from New Jersey in the north to central Alabama in the south. The Piedmont province is a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division...

; he described it, with its bark "as odoriferous as cinnamon" but did not name it. The planters of Carolina gathered it into their gardens, and Peter Collinson imported it into England from Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

 about 1756; he described it to Linnaeus. As the leathery maroon flowers are not very showy, the shrub is thought to be "of minor garden value today", where scent is less valued than color, though it is an old-fashioned sentimental favorite in the American Southeast, where it is native.

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