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Lindera Benzoin Northern Spicebush

Lindera Benzoin Northern Spicebush

Lindera Benzoin Northern Spicebush

Northern spicebush is a single- or few-stemmed, deciduous shrub, 6-12 ft. tall, with glossy leaves and graceful, slender, light green branches. Leaves alternate on the branchlets, up to 6 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide, upper surface dark green, lower surface lighter in color, obovate, tapering more gradually to the base than to the tip, tip somewhat extended margins without teeth or lobes. Dense clusters of tiny, pale yellow flowers bloom before the leaves from globose buds along the twigs. Flowers occur in umbel-like clusters and are followed by glossy red fruit. Both the fruit and foliage are aromatic. Leaves turn a colorful golden-yellow in fall.

Spicebush

Northern spicebush is a single- or few-stemmed, deciduous shrub, 6-12 ft. tall, with glossy leaves and graceful, slender, light green branches. Leaves alternate on the branchlets, up to 6 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide, upper surface dark green, lower surface lighter in color, obovate, tapering more gradually to the base than to the tip, tip somewhat extended margins without teeth or lobes. Dense clusters of tiny, pale yellow flowers bloom before the leaves from globose buds along the twigs. Flowers occur in umbel-like clusters and are followed by glossy red fruit. Both the fruit and foliage are aromatic. Leaves turn a colorful golden-yellow in fall. Spicebush is a flowering shrub native to Eastern North America that is very beneficial to wildlife. It produces numerous yellow flowers early in the Spring. Because of this it is sometimes referred to as Wild Forsythia, for the similar appearance (although it is not as showy). By providing food to pollinators in the form of nectar, forage for several caterpillars, berries for birds, and forage for deer – this plant is an excellent choice for attracting wildlife to your area. Depending on available sunlight, you can be treated to a beautiful fall display of golden yellow leaves with the Spicebush. In the wild, it is an understory tree occurring along stream banks, edge of wetlands or ponds inside forests.

Along the branches there will be alternate leaves that are 3-5″ long, and 2-3″ wide. Larger leaves are shaped like a long oval. While shorter leaves are more round. The underside of the leaf will be white-green, or pale green. While the top side of the leaf is a medium green color. If you encounter a plant that you think might be Spicebush but are not sure – just pull a single leaf of and tear it in half and smell it. You will know that it is Spicebush by the aroma that is similarto Allspice.Spicebush will grow best in partial shade. Although it is versatile enough to grow in either full sun or full shade, the amount of sunlight will effect the growth of the plant. So, on the extreme East or West side of a house would be a good choice, where it would only get sun in the morning or afternoon (less than 6 hours). The largest specimens I’ve observed were in a somewhat open woodland. So, those plants received sun most of the day, but was filtered through taller trees. This matches studies that showed that woodland patches that had canopy disturbance from falling trees (thereby giving more sunlight) had the highest growth rates and produced the most fruit. (Source: growitbuildit.com)

 

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