Sweet Shrub is a deciduous shrub in the Laurel family that can grow to 10 feet tall and blooms from April to July with rich brown blooms. It likes well drained soils in full sun to part shade. It grows taller in the shade than it does in full sun. Prune after flowering if you want to keep a compact plant. It tends to want to sucker for form colonies but it can be contained by removing root suckers as they appear. It also goes by the common name of Carolina Allspice and the leaves are aromatic when crushed. Flowers can reach two inches across and later turn into urn shaped fruits or capsules which mature in the fall and remain thru winter.
The Cherokee used a root tea to treat urinary and bladder complaints. A cold bark tea was used as eye drops for persons with failing eye sight. Bark ooze was applied to skin sores. A root and leaf tea was taken for hives. The flowers were used as an air fresheners as they would give off hints of pineapple, strawberry and bananas.
As you can see Sweet Shrub makes a very attractive under story plant as the edge of your woodland garden. The above pictures shows how pruning has change the shape into a more shrub-like shape. In the wild Sweet Shrub has a more tree like shape with fewer branches.