FG's description above is spot-on! A favorite woodland shrub. Tolerates average to moist soil and shade; often seen on edges of wet woodlands. Medium-green foliage turns golden yellow in early fall. Fuzzy yellow flowers in early spring. Host plant for Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar; resistant to deer and other pests. Can get to be 7-8' tall and wide. Nice natural shape, but can be lightly pruned to keep a little smaller. May be hard to find in nurseries.
Lindera is one of my favorite local natives for myriad reasons. The twigs have a very nice sassafras-like flavor, but deer don't seem to bother them(knock wood)while munching on most everything else in my area. I've transplanted many 4' to 5' specimens successfully from wooded areas where they were plentiful to similar conditions in woodland gardens. I've seen them available in a garden center ONCE, and the small sheared plants bared little resemblance to the lovely native specimens. The flowers are small but noticeable in the spring, but the golden-yellow fall color makes the woodland understory glow. The bright red berries on the females are lovely, though sparse in my experience. While usually 4' to 6' individual specimens, I have seen a localized thicket of 8' to 10' plants. Spicebush definitely deserves wider use in naturalistic plantings.
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