T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird' (Sweet Pepperbush)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Clethraceae
Genus: Clethra
Species: C. alnifolia
Cultivar name: Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird'
Common names: Sweet Pepperbush

Clethra alnifolia is an upright, deciduous flowering shrub growing to 1.5-3 m tall. It is a native to the eastern U.S.
This cultivar is called 'Hummingbird', for its dwarf size. The leaves are obovate to oblong, 4-10 cm long and 2-4 cm broad, with a serrated margin; they are green turning yellow-golden during the autumn.
Clethra alnifolia bears white, deliciously spicy clove-scented flowers in dense, upright racemes up to 15 cm long and 2 cm broad that last four to six weeks. The flowers are creamy white or very pale pink, 5-10 mm diameter and are attractive to bees and butterflies. Flowers mature to spikes of dark brown capsules and its oval, glossy dark green leaves turn a pleasant yellow in autumn.
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.


Top side of a leaf.


The underside of a leaf


An upright racemes (up to 15 cm long)