Lindera benzoin – Spicebush
Spicebush is a 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.