Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus floridus)

Shrub
C. sterilis.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Carolina Allspice
Calycanthus floridus
Calycanthaceae

Leaves contain small quantities of camphor. They can be used as an insect repellent, perfume and disinfectant[169, 257].

  • Medicinal Use

    Antispasmodic, disinfectant[106, 169].

    The plant contains an alkaloid that has a powerfully depressant action on the heart[4]. A fluid extract has been used as an antiperiodic[4].

    A tea made from the root or bark has been used as a strong emetic and diuretic for kidney and bladder ailments[222, 257]. A cold tea has been used as eye drops in the treatment of failing eyesight[222, 257].

    An ooze from the bark has been used to treat children’s sores, whilst an infusion has been used to treat hives[257].

  • Edible Use

    The aromatic bark is dried and used as a substitute for cinnamon[2, 11, 46, 61, 105, 161, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Ruminants are reported to have a toxic reaction from grazing this plant[4, 222].

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[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]. Although the dormant plant is hardy to at least -20¡c, the tender young growth in the spring can be damaged by late frosts[K]. All parts of the plant are richly fragrant[182]. The flowers have a refreshing scent of ripe apples[245]. The wood, leaves and roots smell strongly of camphor, whilst the bark smells like cinnamon[245]. This species is closely related to C. mohrii[182]. A very ornamental plant, there is at least one named variety developed for its ornamental value. ‘Mrs Henry Type’ is a large-flowered form[182]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
South-eastern N. America – Virginia to Florida, west to Alberta and West Virginia.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*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.