Californian Allspice (Calycanthus occidentalis)

Shrub
C. macrophyllus.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Californian Allspice
Calycanthus occidentalis
Calycanthaceae

A light brown dye is obtained from the flowers[168].

The wood and the bark from fresh shoots has been used in basket making[257].

  • Medicinal Use

    The bark is expectorant[257]. A decoction of the fresh or dried bark has been used in the treatment of sore throats, severe colds and stomach disorders[257].

  • Edible Use

    The aromatic bark is dried and used as a substitute for cinnamon and all spice[11, 105].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. If the seed is harvested ‘green’ (as soon as it has fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and sown immediately it can germinate in 3 weeks[113]. Dried seed germinates in 1 – 6 months at 15¡c[138]. Stored seed requires between 3 weeks and 3 months cold stratification before sowing in the spring. When large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. They can be difficult[113]. Layering in spring. Sever the new plants in a wet spell of weather about 15 months later and then lift them in the autumn[78]. High percentage[78]. Division of suckers in early spring[11]. Very easy, they can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.
Prefers a light loamy soil that is deep and moist but succeeds in most fertile soils if they are not shallow[11, 182]. Requires a well-drained soil[188]. Prefers a sunny position but it tolerates shade when grown in warm temperate zones[11, 200]. Requires a sheltered position, protected from cold winds[245]. Plants are hardy to about -15¡c[184]. The leaves and the flowers are very aromatic according to one report[188], whilst another says that the leaves and wood are pleasantly aromatic, whilst the flowers have no scent[245]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
South-western N. America – California.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.