Beautiful aromatic native shrub with unique 1" dark burgundy-maroon flowers and shiny polished leaves. Blooms as it breaks dormancy in April and May and continues flowering sporadically throughout the summer. Upright flowers resemble small magnolias with petals spiraling into similar-looking sepals, a characteristic of many primitive plants.
Leaf, bark and flowers all highly fragrant of an aroma resembling spiced apples. Bark is edible, tastes very similar to cinnamon bark, and can be used the same way to spice puddings, toast and desserts. In warmer regions fruit will develop but is poisonous and should be avoided.
Horticulturist and author Michael Dirr considers this plant one of the great treasures of eastern North America, especially when allowed to grow into a large open specimen.
Flowers on previous year’s wood so best pruned in summer. Partial sun and moist rich soil. Native to stream edges and woodlands of southeastern U.S. Z4/5. (1-3' bare-root plants)
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