Synonym(s): Clethra alnifolia var. tomentosa, Clethra tomentosa Cultivar(s): Compacta, Cv., Fern Valley Late Sweet, Fern Valley Pink, Hummingbird, Pink Spires, Ruby Spice, September Beauty, Sixteen Candles, White Dove
Image ID: 13672
Image by: Sorrie, Bruce A.
Image Collection: NCBG Digital Library
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Clethra alnifolia
Include in WOTAS: 0
Publish to Web: 1
Last Modified: 2019-02-11
GENUS CODE: CLETH GENUS SCIENTIFIC:Clethra GENUS AUTHORITY: L. GENUS COMMON: Sweetpepperbush GENUS SUMMARY: A genus of 65-95 species, shrubs and trees, primarily of tropical America and Asia. GENUS IDENTIFICATION: GENUS REFERENCES: Tucker & Jones in FNA (2009); Sleumer (1967b)=Z; Schneider & Bayer in Kubitzki (2004). Key based on FNA.
FAMILY CODE: CLETHR FAMILY SCIENTIFIC:Clethraceae FAMILY AUTHORITY: Klotzsch 1851 FAMILY COMMON: Clethra Family FAMILY SUMMARY: A monogeneric family of 65-95 species, shrubs and trees, primarily of tropical America and Asia. Sometimes combined into the Cyrillaceae. FAMILY REFERENCE: Tucker & Jones in FNA (2009); Sleumer (1967b); Anderberg & Zhang (2002); Schneider & Bayer in Kubitzki (2004).
INTRO:Clethra alnifolia, commonly called summersweet, is a rounded, suckering, densely-branched, deciduousshrub that is native to swampy woodlands, wet marshes and stream banks along the East Coast. In late summer this plant develops upright panicles of sweetly fragrant flowers which ripen to into brown seed capsules in the autumn and may persist into winter. The green leaves turn a pleasant yellow to golden-brown in the fall. STEMS: LEAVES: INFLORESCENCE: FLOWERS: FRUITS: COMMENTS: HEIGHT: 3-5 ft. DURATION:
Alternate LEAF COMPLEXITY:
Simple LEAF RETENTION:
Deciduous FLORAL CHARACTERISTICS
BLOOM TIME: June-August
BLOOM COLOR: White flowers
FRUITING PERIOD: Sep-Oct. DISTRIBUTION
HABITAT TYPE: Wet marshes and stream banks.
NATIVE RANGE: eastern United States HORTICULTURAL
Plant Sale Text: Coastal sweet-pepperbush blooms profusely in late summer. Its spikes of white flowers produce an intoxicating fragrance that entices people as well as pollinators. Many butterflies are attracted to the nectar of its flowers as are hummingbirds. This adaptable species is easily grown anywhere in sun to light shade, as long as it is planted in soil that retains some moisture. Over time, a single plant will spread to form a clump up to 12 ft wide. This genus supports up to 9 lepidoptera species.
Bloom Table Text: Coastal Sweet-pepperbush can be found along the east coast from Maine to Florida, growing to be 10 feet tall in good soil conditions. A wonderful landscape plant for a shrub border or at the edge of a pond or stream, it grows well in sun or shade and prefers moist, acidic soil. Flowering for 4-6 weeks in July and August, it produces upright white racemes that are very attractive to bees. The fruits are small dry capsules and are often present during much of the year. Coastal Sweet-pepperbush is also noted for its beautiful fall color.
NCBG Location: Found throughout the Habitats, Education Center Landscape, and Totten Center Landscape.
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2016 National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.3 (Lichvar, R.W., D.L. Banks, W.N. Kirchner, and N.C. Melvin. 2016. The National Wetland Plant List: 2016 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2016-30: 1-17. Published 28 April 2016. ISSN 2153 733X). Regions: AGCP-Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, AK-Alaska, AW-Arid West, CB-Caribbean, EMP-Eastern Mountains and Piedmont, GP-Great Plains, HI-Hawaii, MW-Midwest, NCNE-Northcentral and Northeast, WMCV-Western Mountains, Valleys & Coast
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Clethra alnifolia
COMMON NAME: Coastal Sweet-pepperbush, Coastal White-alder
SYNONYMY: [= FNA, S, Va; < C. alnifolia - C, F, G, GW, K, Pa, WH3; = C. alnifolia var. alnifolia - RAB, Z]
PHENOLOGY: Jun-Aug; Sep-Oct.
HABITAT: Pocosins, blackwater swamp forests, nonriverine swamp forests.
COMMENTS: Primarily a southeastern Coastal Plain species, C. alnifolia ranges from NS and ME south to FL, west to TX; disjunct in sc. TN (Coffee County) (Chester, Wofford, & Kral 1997).
RANGE MAP: Clethra alnifolia.png
Key to Map SymbolsABOUT FAMILY (Weakley Flora) Clethraceae Klotzsch 1851 (Clethra Family) SUMMARY: A monogeneric family of 65-95 species, shrubs and trees, primarily of tropical America and Asia. Sometimes combined into the Cyrillaceae. REFERENCE: Tucker & Jones in FNA (2009); Sleumer (1967b); Anderberg & Zhang (2002); Schneider & Bayer in Kubitzki (2004).ABOUT GENUS (Weakley Flora) Clethra L. (Sweetpepperbush) SUMMARY: A genus of 65-95 species, shrubs and trees, primarily of tropical America and Asia. REFERENCE: Tucker & Jones in FNA (2009); Sleumer (1967b)=Z; Schneider & Bayer in Kubitzki (2004). Key based on FNA.
SERNEC: Find Clethra alnifolia in Southeast Regional Network of Experts and Collections (if available) UNC SERNEC: Find Clethra alnifolia in
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Herbarium - Southeast Regional Network of Experts and Collections (if available)