Clethra alnifolia

Common Names: Coastal sweetpepperbush, summersweet
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Clethraceae family

A deciduous shrub growing to 1.5 to 3 m tall. The leaves are obovate to oblong, 4 to 10 cm long and 2 to 4 cm broad, with a serrated margin; they are green turning yellow-golden during the autumn. The flowers are white or very pale pink, 5 to 10 mm in diameter, and have a sweet, somewhat cloying fragrance; they are produced in racemes up to 15 cm long and 2 cm broad in late summer, depending on the cultivar. The "pepper" part of the common name derives from the mature fruits, capsules which have a vague resemblance to peppercorns, however, with no element of spiciness.

It grows in wet forests, pine flatwoods, wetlands, bogs and can be seen alongside woodland streams. Is typically used as a shrub for natural gardens, or is placed alongside a stream or pond to delay erosion.

Primary Flower Color: White
Secondary Flower Color: Pink
Edible Notes: No available information on edibility.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.