Tag Archives: shrub

Weekly Puzzler Answer #155

Last week’s puzzler was a shrub seen in the eastern United States called, appropriately, eastern sweetshrub; other common names include Carolina sllspice, strawberry shrub,, sweet-scented shrub, bubby blossom, sweet bubby, sweet bettie, and spicebush. (A note here, as one of my subscribers, Barb, wrote this in her comment and I thought she might be talking about another eastern shrub called spicebush. When I searched for common names for the eastern sweetbush, spicebush was listed on one of the sites I visited.  So your answer was indeed correct! Thanks for the lesson!)


The Latin name of this plant is Calycanthus floridus. If you’ve ever stood close to one, you may have noticed the sweet fragrance–said to smell like strawberry, melon and pineapple– the shrub gives off. Its leaves, twigs and flowers are very fragrant, especially as the plant matures.

Endemic to North America, this pretty shrub grows 6-9 feet tall. The flowers may last over a month! In the fall the shrub will be full of seed pods that hang down and will eventually release seeds, which need to go through stratification (a period of cold and moisture in order to germinate)before they can grow a new plant.


Here is some more information if you are interested, from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)

And, just as a reminder in case you missed my last post, I will be traveling for a while, putting some of my regular columns, including the puzzler, on hold. See you again in a few weeks!

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Weekly Puzzler #155: Red Flower and Fruity Scent

I came across this scrub recently on a rainy day walk at the North Carolina Arboretum. It was full of these lovely red flowers in the center of each bunch of lovely green leaves. Have you seen it? Do you know what it is? Do you know why I say it has a fruity scent? Have you smelled it–do you know what it smells like?




If you want to guess, use the comment box below. You could win the next prize–to be given away on the first day of fall. All correct responses will be entered in the drawing. This quarter our winner, Arden, won a sampler pack of greeting cards from my Beauty is Everywhere collection.

…Have a wonderful weekend!! See you again soon.

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Weekly Puzzler Answer #88

witch-5506Did you recognize last week’s puzzler as Witch Hazel? This small tree has a wispy yellow flower that blooms in the fall rather than the spring.  When all of the other trees have already lost their leaves, the blooms of witch hazel add a wonderful burst of color to an otherwise brown landscape. You can often find them on the trees throughout the winter.

Witch hazel has an interesting history as long ago the forked limbs were used as dowsing or divining rods. In addition, it was used by Native Americans in various sacred rituals, to accelerate healing of wounds, and to treat inflammation of the eyes as well as diarrhea.

Witch hazel can grow to about 25 feet but usually stays smaller and more shrub-like. Interestingly, an extract from the plant is a component of a variety of healthcare products like lotions and toners. The bark and leaves are used to produce a topical astringent.

Witch hazel leaves

Witch hazel leaves

Witch hazel can be found along in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia south to Florida and as far west as Texas. It is pollinated by a moth. Its small, black seeds that are white and oily on the inside and are an important source of food for many animals, including black bear, white-tailed deer, beavers, bobwhites, pheasants, grouse and turkeys.

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