Lindera benzoin

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 5 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: spice bush
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Lauraceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: March
Bloom Description: Greenish yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Fragrant, Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Clay Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Fall color is best in sunny areas. Tolerates full shade, but habit becomes more open and wide-spreading.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Spicebush is a Missouri native deciduous shrub with a broad, rounded habit which typically grows 6-12' (less frequently to 15') high in moist locations in bottomlands, woods, ravines, valleys and along streams. Clusters of tiny, apetulous, aromatic, greenish-yellow flowers bloom along the branches in early spring before the foliage emerges. Dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants), with the male flowers being larger and showier than the female ones. Flowers of female plants give way to bright red drupes (to 1/2" long) which mature in fall and are attractive to birds. Female plants need a male pollinator in order to set fruit, however. Drupes are very attractive, but are largely hidden by the foliage until the leaves drop. Thick, oblong-obovate, light green leaves (to 5" long) turn an attractive yellow in autumn. Leaves are aromatic when crushed. The larva (caterpillar) of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly feeds on the leaves of this shrub. Lindera is named for the Swedish botanist, Johann Lindler.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Shrub borders, shade or woodland gardens, moist areas along streams or ponds, native plant gardens or naturalized plantings.