Saturday, May 16, 2009

Calycanthus chinensis

I love our native Calycanthus floridus but this is a nice plant too. Like the native species it is shade tolerant, has impressively large flowers, clean foliage and is generally undemanding. I particularly like the texture of the petals; their roughness helps them interact with sunlight better than most white flowers.

Like C. florida, this species tends to grow in the forest alongside streams. Also like C. f., in spite of its preference for streamsides, it doesn't seem to have any trouble adapting to much drier locations. C. occidentalis, California Sweetshrub is a third species that has entered into hybridizing efforts.

Probably because they are so attractive, adaptable, and easily crossed, there are a number of hybrids available. 'Venus' and 'Hartladge Wine' are the most frequently encountered. I came across a short interesting summary article by Dr. Thomas Ranney from NCSU.

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