Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ is also known as Sweetshrub ‘Aphrodite’. It is part of the Calycanthaceae family of plants. Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ is a deciduous shrub native to North America. It is multi-stemmed and grows to about 3m or 10ft. It was discovered by Mark Catesby (1683-1749) an English naturalist who studied flora in North America. Later English botanist, Peter Collinson (1694-1768) described it to Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist.
The foliage is glossy green and oblong and they turn yellow in autumn. Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ flowers are burgundy or deep red and they are about 0cm or 4in in diameter. It flowers during late spring and summer. The flowers resemble Magnolia flowers as it is a distant cousin. Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ is a fragrant plant the leaves as well as the flowers that have have a sweet and spicy fragrance. The bark is also is fragrant and has a strong camphor scent when scratched.
Plant Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ in the sun or partial shade, using moderately fertile and moist but well-drained soil. It is best to shelter if from the cold and winds. Propagate Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ by cuttings, softwood cuttings in spring and summer. Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ is easy to maintain as it is disease-free and trouble-free.
Calycanthus was traditionally used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes as well as basket weaving and making arrows. Calycanthus oil is distilled from the flowers and it is used in perfumes.