Lindera benzoin (Common Spicebush, Northern Spicebush or Benjamin Bush) is a flowering plant in the family Lauraceae, native to eastern North America, ranging from Maine to Ontario in the north, and to Kansas, Texas and northern Florida in the south.
It is a medium-sized deciduous shrub growing to 5 m tall, typically found only in the understory of moist thickets. The leaves are alternate, simple, 6-15 cm long and 2-6 cm broad, oval or obovate and broadest beyond the middle of the leaf. They are very aromatic when crushed, hence the common names and the specific epithet "benzoin". The flowers grow in showy yellow clusters that appear in early spring, before the leaves begin to grow. The fruit is a berrylike red drupe about 1 cm long and is highly prized by birds. It has a peppery taste and scent, and contains a large seed.
Requires moderate to moist, humous-rich soils.
Used for naturalizing a landscape. Lindera benzoin provides a food source for larval Spicebush Swallowtail Butterflies, and for various species of bird.
Pests and Diseases
Last modified on 11 October 2008, at 03:18