Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) is a mid-height shrub native from the southern United States up through the mid-Atlantic states. It is particularly well adapted to shady, damp sites. It has lovely deep red flowers in late spring that smell like strawberries and beautiful, glossy foliage (I took this picture today at the Thielke Arboretum in Glen Rock, NJ).
Sweetshrub is one of those charming old-fashioned plants that people used to grow but that are now disappearing. It is a nice shape and size–usually about 6 feet wide and tall, and easy to control. It is pest- and disease resistant and easily transplanted. If you have a site that’s too wet or too shady for most common landscape plants, take the trouble to seek out sweetshrub. You will have a beautiful plant for your landscape, and you will help bring diversity back to out suburban backyards.