Clethra acuminata

Botanical Name: Clethra acuminata

Common Name:
Cinnamon Clethra

Plant Hardiness: Zone 5

Flower: The white flowers are slightly fragrant and are borne on 3 to 8 inch racemes that rise above the leaves

Bloom Time: Late July or early August

Foliage: The dark green leaves are fairly large – 6 to 8 inches. Fall color is a vibrant yellow

Fruit: Small capsules cover the spent bloom and persist into winter

Habit: Both multi-stemmed shrub and small tree forms exist. Both forms are upright with the latter having a more open habit

Size: 12 feet when grown as a large shrub or near 20 feet when grown as a tree

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Native Habitat: Southeastern United States

Other Features: The bark is a reddish brown and will exfoliate exposing different shades of brown



Description: I have to thank Keith Kilpatrick of Apalachee Nursery for giving us some small plants of this species to get us started. This Clethra grows into a large shrub, 10 to 12 feet high, perhaps even more, that could be considered a small tree. Its flowers are small nodding racemes appearing in late July or early August. They are not as showy as most of the other Clethras but are fragrant, as are the more familiar forms. The main attribute of this species is its brown or cinnamon colored bark which is quite showy, contrasting with its shiny finely-toothed green leaves. Unlike other Clethras, it prefers dry well-drained soil but is easy to grow otherwise. An interesting plant for those of us that are fascinated by different bark colors and textures.