Sweet pepperbush is a tall, aggressive native shrub that inhabits acidic moist woods and pond shores and usually forms extensive
colonies. Its white flowers appear in late July and keep wafting their pungent, spicy-sweet aroma over Little Herring and
Triangle Ponds and Alper Preserve till the end of August. The flowers are visited by a variety of bees—for pollen and butterflies—for
nectar. The name "pepperbush" refers to the vague resemblance of the fruits to peppercorns. Fruits, three-valved capsules
containing numerous small seeds, are long-lasting, still remaining on branches at the time when the new generation of flowers
and even new fruits appear. Persistent fruits provide us a reliable hint about the identity of this shrub all year round.
Sweet pepperbush is by far the most common shrub of moist habitats in eastern Massachusetts, yet, interestingly, its range
does not include western MA, so it is completely absent there. Cultivars (horticultural varieties) of this shrub available
at nurseries are more compact than the straight species.