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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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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


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.