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Feb 2006 SWEET SHRUB
N. Walker

Sweet Shrub, Calycanthus floridus, is native to the Appalachian stream banks of the Smokies. The bushes produce a fragrance described variously as strawberry, cantaloupe, spiced apple, and burgundy wine. Sweet shrub has a distinctive maroon-red flower about 2" across. It is pollinated by small beetles that were pollinators before bees and flies evolved. Even the leaves are fragrant when rubbed, and in the fall they turn a sunny yellow. The bark is cinnamon-flavored and has been used as seasoning.