Below are links to botanical clubs, native plant societies, and live forums of interest to native plant enthusiasts.
|Botanical Society of Washington|
|Delaware Native Plant Society|
|Delaware Nature Society|
|Delaware Valley Fern & Wildflower Society|
|Hilton Pond Center|
|Maryland Native Plant Society|
|New England Wild Flower Society|
|New York Flora Association|
|Pennsylvania Native Plant Society|
|Philadelphia Botanical Club|
|Torrey Botanical Club|
|Virginia Native Plant Society|
|The Garden Club of Fair Haven|
|Gardening in New Jersey|
|Native Plant Exchange|
|Maryland/DC/Virgina Region Native Plants Information Group|
Scientific name: Clethra alnifolia
Family: White Alder (Clethraceae)
Coastal sweet pepperbush is a large deciduous shrub that grows to 2.5 m tall. The bark is smooth, reddish-orange or gray in color, and 2 to 3 mm in diameter. Twigs are reddish-orange covered with dense white hairs. Leaves are alternate, simple, 5 to 8 cm long, and toothed toward their tips. They are medium to dark green, turn golden yellow in the fall and have appressed white hairs along the midvein. Flowers are up to 1 mm long and 0.8 mm wide, composed of 5 white fused petals. Seventeen to one hundred fragrant flowers form the bottlebrush-like inflorescences that are about 10 cm long and 2 cm wide
Summersweet is a shade-tolerant understory shrub that grows under the canopy of old-growth trees. It will grow in full sun, but does best in a light, dappled shade. Found in wet woods, thickets, marshes, swales and bogs, along lake and stream edges, and near rocks in water. It is typically not a dominant species in plant communities. Common overstory associates include cypress, Atlantic white cedar, coastal pine species, red maple, magnolias, and beech. It grows naturally in poorly drained, moist soils and will get larger and produce more suckers if provided plenty of water. Once established, it can also thrive on drier, well-drained soils. The optimum soil pH is approximately 4.5. Coastal sweet pepperbush is moderately salt tolerant and can be grown near, but not directly behind, beaches. (from USDA PLANTS)
Summersweet is an attractive shrub of wet, shady, acidic sites and grows in almost every region of New Jersey. It has a tendency to sucker and can form broad colonies that can reach 6’-8’ tall and fairly wide. The major attribute of summersweet is that it produces an abundant display of fragrant, small white flowers in the middle of the summer. Pollinators love summersweet so this is a great species for bee keepers and fans of butterflies. The fragrant white flowers and nectar of coastal sweet pepperbush attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Deer eat it only when other forage vegetation is limited. This is a must for every native landscape.
The fruiting stalk has many miniature oval 3-seeded capsules that are winter-persistent and are good identification features. Coastal sweet pepperbush produces leaves in late spring, flowers in July and August, and sets fruit in September and October. The yellow fall foliage persists for two to four weeks. This is the only species in the genus Clethra that is native to North America.