Spice bush

Calycanthus occidentalis


Spice bush is a large deciduous shrub that is native to moist and shady habitats in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, north coast ranges and southern reaches of the Cascade range. It grows with a stiff branching habit reaching 8-10 ft. tall and as wide. Foliage is quite large and distinctive; leaves are deep green, rigid, 3-6 in. long and exude a spicy odor when crushed. Attractive maroon colored flowers accent the tips of the stems in spring.

This California native is widely adapted to shaded areas in Inland Empire gardens and is well suited to background and sloping areas where it provides bold and lush summer foliage character. It grows best in rich soils and regular summer water.

Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Habit: Upright, Spreading, Mounding
Growth Rate: Moderate
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Burgundy
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Moist soil, Loam, Clay, Acidic soil
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, Moderate shade, Fog, Cold hardy
Function: Wildlife value, Screening, Residential spaces, Parks and open space, Foundations, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Commercial spaces, Banks, Background plant, Fragrant foliage
Height: 8 ft. – 10 ft.
Width: 8 ft. – 10 ft.