Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice' - Ruby Spice Summersweet


"Clethra alnifolia, commonly called summersweet, is a deciduous shrub that is native to swampy woodlands, wet marshes, stream banks and seashores, often in sandy soils, along the coast from Maine to Florida and west to Texas. It is a rounded, suckering, densely-branched, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 3-6’ (less frequently to 8’) tall and is noted for producing a mid to late summer bloom of sweetly fragrant white flowers which appear in narrow, upright panicles (racemes to 2-6" long). Flowers give way to dark brown seed capsules (1/8" diameter) which may persist into winter. Mature stems have scaly, dark gray to brown black bark. Serrate, obovate to oblong, glossy dark green leaves (to 3-4” long) turn variable but generally attractive shades of yellow to golden brown in fall. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies and bees.

"Genus name comes from the Greek klethra the name for alder of which the leaves resemble.

"Specific epithet means leaves like alder.

"‘Ruby Spice’ is most noted for its fragrant rose-pink flowers that bloom in late summer. It was discovered in 1992 as a sport of C. alnifolia ‘Pink Spire’." (Missouri Botanical Garden)

Works Cited


  1. "Summersweet Clethra Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby spice' Flower" By Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) - Self-photographed, GFDL 1.2, 2007

Information and images compiled by Erik N. Vegeto

Disclaimer Notice:
Creative Commons will not be liable to You or any party on any legal theory for any damages whatsoever, including without limitation any general, special, incidental or consequential damages arising in connection to this license.