Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)


Spicebush is a medium to large native shrub that grows in average, medium, well-drained soils. This shrub is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are on separate plants, so both are required for fruit to occur. Greenish yellow flowers bloom in March. The male flowers are larger and showier while the female flowers are smaller and give way to bright red drupes in the fall. The thick, oblong, bright green leaves are aromatic when crushed and turn yellow in the fall. Over 20 species of birds eat the fruit. The Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly lays its eggs on the leaves and the larvae feed on the leaves making this shrub and important larval food source. Spicebush can tolerate deer, drought, heavy shade and clay soil.


Map courtesy of the USDA-NRCS Plant Database.

Photo courtesy of William Avery Hudson, Phillip Bouchard, Regina Kreger respectively

Additional information

Scientific Name

Lindera benzoin






Light green

Fall color


Native to

Eastern U.S.



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