* Leaves short-pointed, wedge-shaped, and most broad near the tip toothed
only far half. 1 1/2-3" long.
* Flowers in loose spikes. White, strongly aromatic.
* Fruits also in loose spikes, 3-parted, dry.
* Twigs, end buds hairy.
* Older bark grayish, flaky.
* Height: To 10'.
* Flowers July - September.
* Habitat: Swamps, bogs, wet sandy soils, lake and pond sides.
* Range: East coast of the United States.
* The Coast Pepperbush's lilac-scented blossoms have earned
it the name Sweet Pepperbush. The flowers mature from the bottom
up, with only a few new blossoms opening each day. Each blossom
on the spike is proterandrous, which means it is first male and
second female; as the spike comes into flower, the bottom blossoms
become female as the top ones, newly open, are male. This design
is ingenious, as it fits the behavior of the bees which pollinate
the flower. The insects start at the bottom of the spike and
crawl upward, so as they leave the top of one spike covered with
pollen from the male flowers, they will land on a new spike and
pollinate the female flowers at the spike's base. Hence the spikes
are cross-pollinated and both the bee and the pepperbush gain
from their symbiotic relationship.
* The coast pepperbush is easily cultivated, and when cared
for in the garden, the flower spikes dramatically increase in
size, releasing a wonderful aroma when in flower. The species
receives its name from the peppercorn shape of its seeds.