The Q&A Archives: Allspice (Calycanthus floridus)

Question: There is a plant/bush that grows in the south (Tenn.) that we call the Sweet Betsy. It has a very sweet smell that goes for blocks. It has a small purple redish flower that looks similar to a very small tulip. I was recently in Tenn. and the same plant has been there for at least 40 years. Can you give me any information on this plant so I can obtain one? No one seems to know the real name.

Answer: Sounds to me like one of my favorite plants, Allspice (Calycanthus floridus). It has purple-maroon-brown flowers that give off a wonderful scent of spicy strawberries. Even the seed capsules, when crushed, smell good. A good nursery, especially one specializing in native plants, should have one for you.

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