Lindera benzoin / Spicebush (Laurel Family)
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For the birds! And the butterflies, moths, bees, beetles, and flies. It’s not so bad for people either with its rich, spicy smell, spring yellow flowers, and bright red fall fruit. Spicebush is a very adaptable shrub that can go in dappled shade to almost full sun if kept in consistently moist soil. Male and female flowers are produced on separate plants, so you need both to produce fruit. The bright red fruits (drupes) are produced in early fall and are an important fatty food source for overwintering and migrating birds. Spicebush is also, famously, a host plant for the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly. The caterpillars can be found in curled up leaves in the daytime and will come out for a snack at dawn and dusk.
Blooms: Yellow, 2-3 weeks, March-April
Leaves: Simple, 3-6”, oblong, fragrant, nice yellow fall color
Exposure: Part sun-Light shade
Fauna: Bees, butterflies, fruit for birds, host plant to Spicebush Swallowtail and 2 moths
Seeds: Bright red, fragrant fruit on female plants
Deer Resistance: High
Native Status: NC Native, common across the state
Provenance: NC ecotype, seed grown