Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Spice Bush, Spicebush, Western Sweet Shrub, California Allspice
Calycanthus occidentalis

Family: Calycanthaceae
Genus: Calycanthus (kal-ee-KAN-thus) (Info)
Species: occidentalis (ok-sih-den-TAY-liss) (Info)

Synonym:Butneria occidentalis

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 12 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Opuntia53 On Apr 3, 2007, Opuntia53 from Jamestown, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This CA Native Plant is a delight. It is carefree, except for minor pruning in a garden setting. It's leaves start out a lime green color and darken through summer. The flowers form a seed pod that reminds one of anise. Requires extra water during our California scorching summers and perhaps some afternoon shade. It grows along rivers and streams in it's natural state.

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 17, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Calycanthus occidentalis WESTERN SPICEBUSH Dec (z8) (WNa,Fra,Cut)
This handsome medium-large shrub (4-12') with dense habit, spicily-aromatic leaves and unusual maroon-red flowers has long been a garden favorite like its sister the eastern sweetshrub. Sun-PSh/Med.moisture

Positive damnerd On May 11, 2002, damnerd from Miramonte, CA wrote:

Sweet Bush (Calycanthus occidentalis) grows wild along the creeks of the Sierra Nevada foothills. My neighbors and I have transplanted it into our yards as shrubs. The blooms are very aromatic and the plant is very hardy. Main means of propagation is transplanting suckers.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Arab, Alabama
Foley, Alabama
Auberry, California
Auburn, California
Bootjack, California
Carmichael, California
Chico, California (2 reports)
Elk Grove, California
Fairfield, California
Fresno, California
Grass Valley, California
Jamestown, California
Napa, California
Oroville East, California
Placerville, California
Sacramento, California
Tollhouse, California
West Sacramento, California
Yuba City, California
Danielsville, Georgia
Greenville, Indiana
Scotch Plains, New Jersey
Perrysville, Ohio

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