Native Plant Profile: Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) April 23, 2019 Spicebush; by Bill Hubick I vividly remember my first experience with spicebush (Lindera benzoin) in undergrad. It is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions and is low-maintenance once it is established. The female plants produce fragrant yellow flowers in early spring, followed by small, bright-red oval fruit in autumn. Flowers and Fruit The flowers of the spicebush appear early in the spring (March or early April) prior to the emergence of the leaves. Plant spicebush in moist, well-drained soil. Native people used spicebush to ease colds, cough, fever, and measles. Spicebush. This is another wonderful American native shrub. Spicebush, named for its spicy, fragrant leaves and stems, is native to moist woodlands in the Midwest and occasionally occur in the Chicago area. The central trunk (if present) and larger branches are rather slender; their bark is brown, shiny, and sparsely covered with small white lenticels. Fresh seeds are best when it comes to growing spicebush from seed. It originally appeared in Vol 12: No.3, Fall 2007. Spicebush is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are present on separate plants. Louisiana Plant ID is an online resource for images and descrptions of Louisiana plants and ecosystems. Lindera spicebush care in the garden isn’t at all difficult to achieve when the plant is given suitable growing conditions. Externally, they used oil from the pressed berries to ease the pain of arthritis. Native to the eastern parts of North America and Canada, spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is an aromatic shrub often found growing wild in swampy woodlands, forests, valleys, ravines and riparian areas. Northern spicebush is a shrub found growing across the eastern United States. It passes by quite unnoticed along many a hiking trail or watershed. This plant also supports Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) larvae which have 2 generations per year from April-October. Although it can be grown from seed with relative ease, Spicebush is not as easily propagated otherwise. Scratch a twig with your fingernail or squeeze a berry between your fingers and you will smell the lemony tartness exuding out of the plant. Prune after flowering, if needed, to maintain the desired size and shape. It tolerates both alkaline and acidic soils well. Tolerates full shade, but habit becomes more open. Despite this, spicebush is not widely commercially available and has no known commercial uses. Let’s explore how to grow spicebush. The tiny yellow flowers are relatively insignificant, but they make an attractive display when the tree is in full bloom. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! The flowers of the female plants beget fragrant fruits, ripening from July through early October to a glossy red. Used to make essential oils and fragrant sachets, northern spicebush also provides food for over 20 species of birds. Once you have some seed, follow the process below for germinating Spicebush seeds. Spicebush flowers in the early spring well before emergence of its leaves. Caterpillars of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly (Papilio troilus) use this species for food. Sow the seeds immediately after harvesting in a pot or directly in the garden bed. They used all parts of the plant interchangeably as compresses (external applications of cloth soaked in tea Spicebush is known by a variety of names, including spicewood, wild allspice, snap-bush, feverwood, and Benjamin bush. The best time to take softwood cuttings for spicewood propagation is in the late summer or fall. Spicebush is a fun plant to know about—a living scratch and sniff! Noteworthy CharacteristicsAromatic foliage, showy fruit, good autumn color. Spicebush should be fertilized twice during each growing season. Bright red fruits ripen from July through October on female plants, but are only showy once the foliage falls off. The green caterpillars have large, black, fake "eye" markings that scare away predators. Fall color is best in sunny areas. Spicebush is a good choice for a butterfly garden, as it is the preferred food source for several butterflies, including black and blue spicebush swallowtail butterflies. Spicebush thrives in full sunlight or partial shade. Collect the small red fruits in early Autumn when they are bright red. Plant Profiles: Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) by Alana McKean in Plant Profiles - Henry "Weeds" Eilers on November 18, 2020 0-Henry “Weeds” Eilers Peak fall color. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. Adult Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies feed on nectar from Japanese honeysuckle, jewelweed, thistles, milkweed, azalea, dogbane, lantana, mimosa, and sweet pepperbush. You can plant this shrub in most locations since it can handle full sun to full shade. It is accustomed to cold winters, warm springs, and mild to hot summers - although thanks to its adaptable nature it can tolerate a wide range of conditions. Spicebush is native to the Americas and is hardy in USDA zones 4-9. Because it’s so adaptable, you can plant spicebush in either alkaline or acid soil, or in full sun to shade, or in sites that are anywhere from occasionally wet to occasionally dry. When it's not in bloom, the leaves of spicebush are deep green in the summer months, and golden-yellow in the fall months. Spicebush is available from nurseries specializing in native plants. Once established, spicebush usually does not require extra watering outside of the regular rainfall in its growing zones. Place at least one male plant among females for fruiting. Spicebush swallowtails are not considered to be a pest to the spicebush, which is actually very resilient to pests. Because the plants may be either male or female, a grouping of three to five seed-grown specimens is recommended to ensure berry formation. The ideal situation, however, would be a site in partial shade with loamy, well-drained soil that is only occasionally wet or dry, and is in the pH range of 5.0 to 8.0. It can add interest to a mixed hedgerow and be effectively massed in the understory of shade trees. The spiciness of this plant is one of its identifiers. Shipped in tree-pots (not bare-root). White-tail deer, rabbits, opossums, and a variety of small rodents readily eat the aromatic leaves and woody parts of this plant. Spicebush is dioecious, which means that male and female flowers are on separate plants. The shrub is valued not only for its scent, but for the emerald green leaves which, with enough sunlight, turn a lovely shade of yellow in autumn. Spicebush does not require heavy pruning, and pruning is usually only for aesthetic reasons and to help it maintain its shape. Plants have a broad, multibranched, rounded form How to grow Lindera (Spicebush) Latin Name Pronunciation: lin-dare’uh This genus is comprised of around 80 species of trees and shrubs known for their aromatic leaves, star-shaped flowers, and colorful fall foliage. What is spicebush? The entire plant is aromatic. Host plant for There are at least three cultivators of spicebush that have been developed, although they are not widely available for purchase. It likes partial shade and in its natural habitat grows as an understory plant, beneath deciduous trees and larger shrubs. Plant spicebush in moist, well-drained soil. Spicebush grows to 10 feet tall, with pretty, teardrop-shaped leaves 2 to 5 inches long. Cori is a freelance writer based out of Ontario, Canada, who specializes in houseplants and houseplant care. Spicebush grows best in full sun to partial shade conditions. In early spring, aromatic, yellow-green flowers adorn its multiple stems, which has given the spicebush the nickname, "forsythia of the wilds." Plant spicebush in masses, in shady sites and to support and encourage wildlife. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. During the first growing season, spicebush should be watered regularly to help it establish a strong root system. it is easy to grow new plants. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board, Spicebush, northern spicebush, Benjaminbush. The plants are usually dio ecious, which means that staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers occur on separate individuals. Fertilize spicebush in spring using a balanced, granular fertilizer with an NPK ratio such as 10-10-10. As a 'facultative wetland plant' (which means that it mostly occurs in wetlands) spicebush thrives in moist-well draining soils. Plant males and females to insure fruit set. Softwood cuttings need high humidity in order to sprout roots, so keep the newly potted softwood cutting in a plastic bag to create a humid environment until roots develop. Historically Native Americans used the fruits of the northern Flowers in the spring, swallowtail butterflies in the summer and plump red berries in the fall are some of its most eye-catching features. Tiny yellow blooms nestle into light green foliage in the spring and summer. Germination will occur in the spring of the following year. Spicebush Plant Bring Swallowtails to Your Yard This multi-season beauty is lovely to look at and produces a luscious spicy scent that attracts Swallowtail butterflies by the droves. Fertilize spicebush in spring using a balanced, granular fertilizer with an NPK ratio such as 10-10-10. Foliage, Flowers, and Fruit The leaves bear a pleasant scent and are the inspiration for the name spicebush. While it can technically survive in full shade as well, the growth habit will become more open and ‘leggy’ which may be considered as less aesthetically pleasing by some. Spicebush will grow to be about 10 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 feet. Its yellow flowers are followed on the female bushes by red berries that birds love. Spicebush leaves reach for the sky in a striking, characteristic fashion in spring. The berries are a favorite food of wood thrushs. Caterpillar Food Plant: Spicebush The following article originally appeared in Butterfly Gardener, a NABA publication for members. The spicebush is a common shrub in forest areas with deer, since deer won't eat the fragrant plant. In fact, spicebush was traditionally used by Native Americans as a medicinal tea. Male spicebush grows clusters of yellow-green flowers in the spring, whereas the female spicebush can be identified by the bright red berries that adorn the bush in the late summer months. Use a rooting hormone for best results, and plant the cutting in a moistened mixture of perlite and soilless mix. Fortunately, the berries that adorn the female plants contain its seeds, so if you have a female spicebush (or know someone that does!) Harvest the berries in the late summer or fall once they have turned red and remove the seed from inside. In order to grow Spicebush from seed, you need to locate a mature berry producing plant first. Larval host plant for Swallowtail butterflies. A relatively large shrub, spicebush reaches heights of 6 to 12 feet (1.8 to 3.6 m.) at maturity, with a similar spread. Tolerates full shade, but habit becomes more open and wide-spreading. Fertilize in the early spring and then again in midsummer. It grows rapidly in wet conditions and tolerates humid conditions more readily than overly dry conditions. It grows best in part shade, and you’ll find it under beeches, oaks, and maples. Culture Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It is the preferred food for the black and blue spicebush swallowtail butterfly larvae. You must act quickly, as birds love to eat all the fruits. As its name suggests, spicebush leaves and twigs give off a spicy fragrance and flavor when crushed. What Is Allspice Pimenta: Learn About Using Allspice For Cooking, Growing Carrots For Black Swallowtail Butterflies: Do Black Swallowtails Eat Carrots, Regional To-Do List: December Tasks For Central States, Hard-To-Shop-For Gardeners: Ideas For Unconventional Garden Gifts, Holiday Garden Giving: Ways To Help Others This Season, Caraway Issues In The Garden – Dealing With Disease And Pests Of Caraway, Pear Tree Cold Tolerance: Pears That Grow In Cold Winters, Fiddle Leaf Fig Pruning: When To Trim A Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, Common Caraway Benefits – Is Caraway Good For You, The Act Of Giving – Crafty Ways To Give Back, Grateful To Give Back: Sharing The Garden With Others In Need, We’re All In This Together - Passing On Gratitude In The Garden, Recipes From The Garden: Pressure Cooking Root Vegetables. Spicebush is a deciduous shrub that grows six to ten feet high. Spicebush Swallowtail host plant. It is widely considered to be an adaptable shrub and can tolerate a wide range of moisture conditions including short periods of dry soil or very wet soil. Growing a spicebush in your garden isn’t difficult if you live in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. Many animals feed on the leaves, twigs, and berries of spicebush. [1][2] The species are shrubs and small trees;[2] common names include spicewood, spicebush, and Benjamin bush. This native shrub is eye-catching and low-maintenance. It is most often used in landscapes in shrub borders and naturalized areas. By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer. Images are provided in galleries and are available by common name, scientific name, family, ecosystem, and wetland indicator status. Spicebush Lindera benzoin Laurel family (Lauraceae) Description: This woody shrub is about 5-15' tall and much branched. Grow in moderate, medium wet, well-drained soil. It’s an excellent, low maintenance plant for a permaculture garden, but if you’re going to plant it, we should probably talk about sex. Plant Name: Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin) Quick Info: Plant is 1-2′ tall. This is one of its nicest times of year with that wonderful clear yellow fall color. Its berries have a mild allspice flavor, and when dried and crushed its bark can pass for a mild cinnamon substitute. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. With sweetly aromatic foliage that turns yellow in the fall, this plant is a good choice … It is most often planted near the back of the shrub boarder or as a foundation planting. NABA member Lenora Larson has graciously allowed us to reprint it here. As the name suggests, the plant’s most distinctive feature is the spicy aroma that perfumes the air whenever a leaf or twig is crushed. It can be successfully propagated by softwood cuttings, although a successful propagation can be difficult. Some mammals include whitetail deer, Eastern cottontail rabbit, opossums. Our native spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is a plant that greatly exceeds expectations. Spicebush would make a great specimen plant near the house for its scent, and bright yellow fall color. The blooms attract bees and other beneficial insects. In nature, spicebush is an understory plant. Over 20 species of birds including both gamebirds and song birds such as ring-necked pheasant, bobwhite, ruffed grouse and others have been known to feed on spicebush. Native to the low woods, stream banks, and wetlands of the eastern United States and Canada, spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is an easy-to-grow, deciduous shrub in the Lauraceae family. Lindera is a genus of about 80-100[1] species of flowering plants in the family Lauraceae, mostly native to eastern Asia but with three species in eastern North America. The best time to prune spicebush is after the shrub has finished flowering in the spring. Plants do best in good soil with medium shade. spicebush The spicy, citrusy aroma of this versatile understory shrub is enchanting, and the leaves and twigs make a pleasant tea. Planting it in masses or with a dark background will show the spring flowers better. The berries are especially noticeable after the leaves drop in fall. Spicebush thrives in full sunlight or partial shade. Sign up for our newsletter. Fall color is best in sunny areas. My professor broke one of the twigs and had us breathe in the lemony aroma. Spicebush is a host plant for spicebush swallowtail butterflies whose larvae feed on it. Spicebush becomes a large, 5- to 8-foot-tall shrub that is slightly wider than tall. Use a fertilizer that is specifically formulated for deciduous shrubs for best results. This is the host plant to the elegant Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly (pictured above in both it’s forms). These tiny blooms attract many species of butterflies. Also commonly known as northern spicebush and Benjaminbush, spicebush is an aromatic shrub that has interest almost year-round. How to Grow and Care for Black Huckleberries, How to Grow and Care for the Carolina Rose, How to Grow and Care for Alligator Juniper, How to Grow Salvia leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage). However, berries develop only on female plants, which won’t occur without a male pollinator. Prune after flowering, if needed, to maintain the desired size and shape. Learn how to grow spicebush in your garden and enjoy this showy shrub all year long. 21 September, 2017. There’s nothing insignificant about the showy berries, which are glossy and bright red (and loved by birds). It transplants poorly and is best planted in the garden from container-grown plants. Spicebush, northern spicebush, Benjaminbush Plant Type Deciduous shrub Mature Size 6-12 feet tall Sun Exposure Full sun to partial sun Soil Type Moist, well-draining Soil pH 5.0-8.0 Bloom Time Early spring Flower Color Yellow Hardiness Zones 4-9 In sunny conditions may need to prune to encourage attractive branching. Host Plant

when to plant spicebush

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