Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees and shrubs in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group.
Family: Calycanthaceae
Calycanthus floridus L.
Carolina allspice

54o 34.991N
5o 56.114W
Calycanthus floridus as the name indicates, comes from Eastern USA where it grows in woodland and along river banks. It forms a shrub, typically multi-stemmed and up to 4m high. The leaves are opposite and are aromatic. The rather distinctive deep brownish-red flowers are produced in spring and early summer. The flowers have a fruity scent (strawberry or pineapple?) and in the wild are pollinated by beetles attracted to a white substance on the inner petals and stamens. The bark is also aromatic. Calycanthus was used as a medicinal plant by Native Americans and an essential oil used in perfumery is distilled from the flowers.
Calycanthus is one of only three genera in the small Calycanthaceae family.
Calycanthus Calycanthus
Calycanthus floridus in Belfast Botanic Gardens Calycanthus floridus flowering in late May
flower and leaf  Calycanthus micro detail
Calycanthus floridus flower and leaf shape Detail of the 'blobs' on the top of the stamens that are said to attract pollinating beetles
Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in May 2019. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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