In a Nutshell:
* Calycanthus ( sweetshrub ) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Calycanthaceae , endemic to North America . The genus includes two to four species depending on taxonomic interpretation; two are accepted by the Flora of North America .
* The flowers have a beautiful mild spicy fragrance.
* Leaves contain small quantities of camphor. They can be used as an insect repellent, perfume and disinfectant.
* All parts of the plant are richly fragrant. The flowers have a refreshing scent of ripe apples. The wood, leaves and roots smell strongly of camphor, whilst the bark smells like cinnamon.
* Stored seed requires between 3 weeks and 3 months cold stratification before sowing in the spring.
* Antispasmodic, disinfectant. The plant contains an alkaloid that has a powerfully depressant action on the heart. A fluid extract has been used as an antiperiodic. A tea made from the root or bark has been used as a strong emetic and diuretic for kidney and bladder ailments. A cold tea has been used as eye drops in the treatment of failing eyesight. more...
* It was noted by Mark Catesby in the Piedmont woodlands of the British Province of Carolina in 1732. He described it, with its bark "as odoriferous as cinnamon", but did not name it. The colonial planters of the Carolinas transplanted it into their gardens, and the botanist Peter Collinson described it to Linnaeus and imported it into England from Charleston in the Province of South Carolinaaround 1756. more...