Spicebush

Lindera benzoin

Photo/Illustration: 
Susan A. Roth
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Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
lin-DARE-ah BEN-zo-in
Genus:  Lindera

This dioecious shrub has much to offer the garden. Male plants have showier, tiny, pale yellow flowers in early spring, but the female counterparts take center stage in early fall, when they're laden with half-inch-diameter berries that turn from green to yellow to high-gloss crimson. About the same time, the leaves turn a hypnotic soft yellow and make the red berries visually pop. Spicebush becomes a large, 5- to 8-foot-tall shrub that is slightly wider than tall. It is the preferred food for the black and blue spicebush swallowtail butterfly larvae.

Noteworthy Characteristics: 

Aromatic foliage, showy fruit, good autumn color. Host plant for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars.

Care: 

Grow in partial sun to light shade and wet to moderately dry soil. Plant a male and a female plant for berries.

Problems: 

Infrequent.

Overview

Height
6 ft. to 10 ft.
Spread
6 ft. to 10 ft.
Growth Habit
Clumps
Light
Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture
Medium Moisture
Maintenance
Low
Characteristics
Attracts Butterflies,
Attracts Song Birds,
Deer Resistant,
Fragrant Flowers,
Fragrant Foliage,
Native,
Showy Fall Foliage,
Showy Flowers
Bloom Time
Early Spring
Flower Color
Yellow
Uses
Beds and Borders,
Waterside
Style
Woodland Garden
Seasonal Interest
Spring Interest
Type
Shrubs

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