Plants We Love: Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)Common name: Spicebush

Botanical name: Lindera benzoin

Virtues: Fragrant, early flowers; fragrant leaves and bark; good fall foliage; pretty berries attract birds. Hosts the larvae of spicebush swallowtail butterflies.

Flowers: Tiny green flowers line branches in early spring, before leaves form. Spicy scent. Berries follow, maturing to bright red in the fall.

Foliage: Shiny green oval leaves turn a nice yellow in the fall. They release a spicy scent when they are crushed.

Habit: Rounded deciduous shrub to 6 to 12 feet tall and wide.

Season: Early spring for flowers; fall for foliage and berries.

Origin: Woods, stream banks and swamps of the eastern half of the United States.

Cultivation: Grow in any well-drained soil. Tolerates full sun to full shade, though its form will be more compact and its fall foliage brighter with at least partial sun. Male and female flowers are borne on different plants, so you will need to plant both a male and a female to get berries. USDA Zones 4–9.

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Image attribution:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/53817483@N00/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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