Spicebush flower, Merced River Canyon

Spicebush (Calycanthus occidentalis)

Aliases:  Sweetbush, Western Sweetshrub

Family:  Spicebush (Calycanthaceae)

Habitat:  Wet areas in the foothills, peaking at about 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) elevation. You can find it in many places along Highway 140 in the Merced River Canyon.

Size: The flowers are big - up to four inches across - and so is the bush itself, which can reach more than 10 feet high.

Flowering Season:  April - August

Lifespan:  Perennial (shrub)

Origins:  Native to California (see distribution maps for California and U.S./Canada)

Calycanthus occidentalis etymology:  Calycanthus derives from the Greek word for calyx, the collection of sepals on a flower (sepals are specialized leaves that encase the flower during the bud stage).[1] Occidentalis comes from occidens, a Latin term meaning "region of the setting sun",[2] and means "of the west" in the botany world.[3]

This Photo:  Along Highway 140 near the landslide detour, mid May

Other Resources:   CalFlora  ·  CalPhotos  ·  USDA  ·  eFloras.org

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