A genus of N. American shrubs with fragrant wood, three coming from the south-eastern United States, the other from California. They have opposite, deciduous leaves, minutely warted on the upper side. Flowers solitary on short, mostly two-leaved shoots of the year, or from the nodes of the previous year's growth. Sepals and petals numerous. Fruits hard, and shaped like a small fig, retaining the seeds for a long time. From the closely allied winter-sweets (Chimonanthus) these differ in their more numerous stamens and brown-purple or brown-red flowers produced on leafy shoots.
The species of Calycanthus are easily accommodated; they like a sunny position in order that the wood may ripen and flowers be freely borne. Any open, loamy, or peaty soil will suit them, provided it is sufficiently deep and moist. They are most easily propagated by layers in this country, where seeds do not usually ripen. Sucker growths are sent up from the base, and these sometimes afford opportunities for propagating by division. These shrubs flower from June to September.