Spice Bush - Lindera benzoin
The spicebush, Latin name lindera benzoin, is a deciduous shrub from the laurel family. It is native to the eastern part of North America, North Florida, and Kansas, Texas where it grows in the understory of moist, rich woods, especially in places where limestone is exposed. It has smooth, dark green leaves that can range between 2 to 6 inches long and 1 to 2 inches in width. These leaves turn a bright, bold yellow in the fall. The leaves and the stems of this plant can be crushed to produce a spicy citrus-type smell and then made into a tea.
The spicebush is an excellent yard plant for home-owners because it has no dangerous insect or disease problems. It uses a medium amount of water and grows well on moist, sandy, and well-drained soils.
This plant produces both fragrant flowers and berries. The yellow flowers begin to grow in early spring before the leaves. They form bold clusters and have a sweet smell. The berries produced by the spicebush are bright red with an ellipsoid shape and are approximately a half-inch long. The berries are described to have a taste similar to oil and can be used to make a spice.
Fans of birds and butterflies will enjoy having this shrub around, as both are attracted to it. Birds will come to eat the berries, generally leaving the rest of the plant alone. The spicebush is a larval host for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies, as well as for the Promethea silkmoth.
Overall, this shrub makes a comfortable and attractive addition to any lawn.
The spicebush is a very interesting shrub. It is dioecious, meaning that it has specific male and female counterparts. This is particularly useful when your landscape needs interest at different times in the season. The male aspect of this species brings small, showy, soft yellow flowers during spring months. The female element will prove its showmanship when the weather chills during the beginning of the fall season by bearing half inch berries the go from green to yellow, then to a remarkable shiny red. The color is only further enhanced by the leaves creating a soft backdrop of yellow making the crimson of the berries pop even more.
Spicebush features emerald green foliage and is very fragrant
It is incredibly hardy and grows very densely, so it would make a perfect privacy as well as border shrub. Spice Bush is an evergreen plant so it will continue to provide color to your garden even throughout the winter months.The spicebush is also a great addition when looking to attract birds and butterflies as welcomed guests and is preferred by swallowtail butterflies. It also has a beautiful aroma that only makes this bush a great all around attraction in your garden.