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xSinocalycalycanthus raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’

 

Raulston allspice has less floral fragrance than the native sweetshrub, Calycanthus floridus, but larger leaves and white-edged red blooms make you forget about it. A sweet cinnamon-like scent is delightfully noticeable if you crush a leaf or scrape a twig.

Raulston allspice is a wonderful medium-sized shrub for the woodland garden, being showy but not overly so, and easy to grow. It tolerates very dry shade once established, but prefers dappled light and a little moisture.

The officially published name for this plant is xSinocalycalycanthus raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’, but due to disagreement among taxonomists concerning the proper genus for the Chinese plant in the cross, and also I suspect because it’s a little easier to remember, you will often see it listed as Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’.

The plant is named for the late J. C. Raulston, and a student of his, Richard Hartlage, who was responsible for creating the hybrid.

Chlorophyll in His Veins, is Bobby Ward’s biography of J. C. Raulston, whom he dubs “Horticultural Ambassador.” Ward goes on to describe Raulston as “the most important and influential figure in American horticulture in the latter part of the twentieth century.” Raulston was a professor at N. C. State University in Raleigh, N. C., and is responsible for the establishment there of the arboretum that bears his name.

Scientific name: xSinocalycalycanthus raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’, syn. Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’

Common names: Raulston Allspice

Family: Calycanthaceae

Nativity: Raulson allspice is a hybrid cross between Calycanthus floridus, a native of the  eastern United States, and Sinocalycanthus chinensis (or Calycanthus chinensis, depending on which taxonomist you side with), a native of eastern China.

Bobby Ward, ed. Roy C. Dicks, Chlorophyll in His Veins: J.C. Raulston, Horticultural Ambassador, BJW Books, 2009.

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