Spicebush

Lindera benzoin

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

Spicebush is a small shrub that rarely grows over six feet tall. It is found in moist woods and marshes.

It has dark green, oval-shaped leaves with smooth edges. The leaves turn yellow in the Fall. They also have a pleasant fragrance when they are crushed. Leaves grow up to five inches long.

Like most shrubs, Spicebush has many trunks.

The flowers of this plant are small and pale yellow in color. They bloom in March and April.

The fruits of Spicebush are shiny red berries called drupes. Birds, including American Robin, Northern Bobwhite, Gray Catbird, Eastern Kingbird, and Great Crested Flycatcher, eat the drupes. Raccoons and Virginia Opossums eat them too.

Copyright, Rainer Oberle

Virginia Tech

Dan Skean

Erv Evans, North Carolina State University

Spicebush is often an understory plant, meaning it grow under larger shrubs and trees in forests. It is almost alway found underneath Yellow Poplar.

Some other plants it is often found with include Highbush Blueberry and Elderberry.

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

This plant is an important host plant to butterflies in the swallowtail family, especially the Spicebush Swallowtail and the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

White-tailed Deer often eat the leaves and twigs of this plant.

Several fungi grow among the roots of Spicebush, exchanging nutrients with the shrub.

Spicebush is one of the first shrubs to flower each Spring.

Spicebush makes good cover for small animals like rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels.

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants

OTHER

Spicebush Swallowtail

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Highbush Blueberry

Great Crested Flycatcher D

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Chipmunk

Common Elderberry

Raccoon D

Raccoon

Eastern Cottontail

Yellow Poplar

Virginia Opossum D

Virginia Opossum

Northern Bobwhite

Kentucky Bluegrass

American Robin D

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Virginia Rose

Northern Bobwhite D

White-tailed Deer

Chinese Mantid

Northern Mockingbird D

Gray Catbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Northern Bobwhite

Mourning Dove

Great Crested Flycatcher

American Goldfinch

Green Stinkbug

Spring Peeper

Northern Mockingbird

Striped Skunk

White-tailed Deer

Black and Yellow Argiope

Green Stinkbug

Harvestman

Eastern Hognose Snake

Northern Mockingbird

Eastern Hercules Beetle

Spined Micrathena

Relationship to Humans:

Some people make a tea from the leaves and twigs of Spicebush. Fruits are also turned into a powder to make a spice.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Plant
DIVISION
Magnoliophyta
CLASS
Magnoliopsida
ORDER
Laurales
FAMILY
Lauraceae
GENUS
Lindera
SPECIES
Lindera benzoin

QUICK LINKS

Organism Menu
Home
Glossary
Student Activities
Relationships
Classification Info
How to Use This Site
Bibliography