Sweetshrub, or Carolina Allspice, is a deciduous woody shrub six to ten feet in height and equally wide, famous for its heady aromas. In nature it is found on streamsides and in moist woodlands from Western NC into Tennessee and south into Alabama (Southern Appalachians and Piedmont), but being an old timey landscape plant, it is also found in many old Southern gardens and yards. Sweetshrub is densely branched, with opposite, leathery, leaves which are aromatic in their own right and turning golden in late autumn. The plant also produces fragrant, upright, long-lasting burgundy-red flowers in early summer which develop into pendulous, wrinkly brown seed pods in fall. Though Sweetshrub thrives in partial shade, flowering and aroma are greatest when grown in full sun — but full sun also increases the suckering nature of this species. Siting the plant in partial to full shade will hold back its growth rate. Seedlings in nature vary greatly in the quality and strength of the fragrance. To avoid obtaining a less desirable individual, one can purchase a vegetatively propagated cultivar such as ‘Michael Lindsey”. We offer this cultivar because the dark flowers are exceptionally fragrant and reliably so, and foliage is darker and shinier than the species. Its form is dense and compact. Fall color is bright yellow. It is also of fully native genetics, whereas several cultivars in the market today are hybrids with partially exotic, usually Asian, heritage. The USDA plant distribution map linked below is for the species.