Deciduous shrubs. Both of these are bulky plants with lush foliage and flowers valued for their fragrance and form.
C. chinensis (Sinocalycanthus chinensis). CHINESE SWEETSHRUB. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Coarse-textured deciduous shrubs offer 2-3 in., nonfragrant flowers resembling the native sweetshrub on steroids. 'Hartlage Wine' offers reddish maroon flowers in mid- to late spring on a plant growing 8-10 ft. high and 6-8 ft. wide. 'Venus' is a hybrid growing 6-8 ft. high and wide with similar flowers, except they are creamy white and appear sporadically from spring into summer. 'Aphrodite' combines a bloom similar to 'Hartlage Wine' with sweet fragrance lacking in others of this group. Grows 67 ft. tall and 56 ft. wide.
C. floridus. COMMON SWEETSHRUB, CAROLINA ALLSPICE. Native from Virginia to Florida. Suckering, fast-spreading, stiffly branched plant to 610 ft. tall and as wide or wider. Leaves are oval, to 5 in., glossy, dark green above, grayish green beneath; turn yellow in fall. Plant blooms most heavily in April and May, and then sporadically to July. Reddish brown, 2-in.-wide flowers, often with heady strawberry fragrance, are carried at ends of leafy branchlets. Blooms are followed by brownish, pear-shaped capsules that are very fragrant when crushed.
Plant in shrub border or around outdoor living space where the flowers' perfume can be appreciated. Aroma varies, so buy when plants are in bloom. 'Michael Lindsay' is dense and compact, with very fragrant blooms. 'Athens' has yellow flowers and an outstanding fragrance reminiscent of cantaloupe.