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Lindera benzoin

Spicebush

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This is a wonderful broad, rounded multi-stemmed shrub covered with fragrant yellow flowers in early spring. The flowers open before the leaves emerge and are held close to the branches. Aromatic light green leaves turn yellow-gold in fall. Birds feed on the brilliant red fruits available in late summer on female plants. These berries are one of the best sources of energy for long distance migratory birds.

Benefits

Excellent source of nectar for butterflies and other pollinators in early spring
Host plant for spicebush and tiger swallowtail butterflies
Fragrant flowers and foliage
Provides cover, nesting sites and red berries for various birds
Deer resistant
Ideal plant for damp shade situations

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Grow in average, medium wet, well-drained soil. Tolerates full shade, but habit becomes more open. Fall color is best in sunny areas. Plant in masses for best flowering and berry effect.


Height
6-10 Feet

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Spread
6-10 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9

Native Range

Low woods, wooded swamps and pond shores; occasionally on uplands Maine to Michigan south to Texas and Florida.

Native Trivia

The caterpillars of the large black spicebush swallowtail are found only on spicebush and sassafras. They possess unique protection from predation by hiding inside rolled leaves for shelter, while two large eye-spots on their backs make them look like small snakes or lizards, chasing would-be attackers.


"This is one of my favorite plants for cover, nesting and delicious berries!"

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Shrubs
Small Shrubs
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Sun
Soil
Well-drained
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Attracts Wildlife
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Songbirds
Bloom Time
Early Spring
Critter Resistance
Deer Resistant
Habitat Collection
Butterfly
Songbird
Wet Sun
Native Habitat
Forest
Foliage Color
Light Green
Uses
Fragrant
Hedge, screen
Mass plant
Meadow
Naturalizes
Ornamental fruit
Native to
Alabama
Arkansas
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia