Chimonanthus (wintersweet) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Calycanthaceae, endemic to China. The genus includes three to six species depending on taxonomic interpretation; three are accepted by the Draft Flora of China. The name means winter flower in Greek.


They are deciduous or evergreen shrubs growing to 2–13 m tall. The leaves are opposite, entire, 7–20cm long and 3–7 cm broad. The flowers are 2–3 cm wide, with numerous spirally-arranged yellow or white tepals; they are strongly scented, and produced in late winter or early spring before the new leaves. The fruit is an elliptic dry capsule 3–4 cm long.


Source: MBG

Cultivation and uses

Chimonanthus praecox is widely grown as an ornamental plant for its spicily scented winter flowers; these are also used in floristry as cut flowering branches, which can also be forced as with forsythia. The plant prefers medium exposure to sunlight or partial shadow, fresh climate, and soft, acidic permeable ground. At the end of its flowering, since it flowers most freely on ripened young wood and has little summer and autumn interest, it is thinned by pruning, partly headed back and a few thick old stems removed at the ground,.

Chimonanthus are frequently subject to attacks from aphids, and may be attacked by mites and leaf beetles.


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