Northern spicebush is a wonderful large shrub to add to your landscape for many reasons. This shrub boasts petite, glossy, aromatic leaves that turn a glorious yellow in the fall, interesting flowers that give way to bright red fruits that can be dried and used as an allspice flavoring, and the twigs are also aromatic, historically ground and used in tea.
Known as “forsythia of the woods” due to the brilliant yellow flowers, this native is an excellent candidate for planting along the garden’s edge. L. benzoin is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants) so if you hope to have fruit you will want to plant several of these.
Northern Spicebush is the host plant for the gorgeous Spicebush Swallowtail.
Use: Berries can be eaten fresh but improve in flavor when dehydrated. Dried and ground berries can be used as a spice with a unique flavor described as floral and peppery, a little like allspice.
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Photos 1 and 2 courtesy of Dan Wilder
Lindera benzoin (Spicebush)
SIZE: 1 gallon pot type: shrub sun needs: Part shade to sun water needs: average, moist height: 6-12' plant spacing: space 6'-8' apart bloom time: April, May bloom color: yellow
edible parts: twigs can be used for tea. The ripe berries, when dried and ground up, can be used like a pepper-like seasoning seasoning salt tolerant. Some salt exposure should not be fatal to the plant but some leaf burning may still occur. deer resistant (please note that does not mean deer proof)