spicebush Lauraceae Lindera
benzoin (L.) Blume
Leaf: Alternate, simple, elliptical, 3 to 5 inches long, pinnately veined, entire margin that may be somewhat ciliate, strong, spicy odor when crushed, green above and slightly paler below.
Flower: Species is dioecious; small, but due to large numbers they can be showy, yellow, appearing in axillary clusters before the leaves in early spring.
Fruit: A bright red drupe when ripe (green before ripening), 3/8 inch long with a large seed and a peppery taste and scent, maturing in fall.
Twig: Slender, olive-green to brown in color, numerous light lenticels, with distinctive, stalked globose buds covered with 2 to 3 yellow-green to brown scales; when broken, a spicy, peppery smell is obvious.
Bark: Brown to gray-brown and speckled with light colored lenticels.
Form: A large shrub with several stems, usually rounded in outline up to 15 feet tall.
Looks like: eastern leatherwood
Additional Range Information: Lindera benzoin is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting spicebush.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson