Common Name: Spicebush
Description: This shrub is know
for its strong scents which are produced by the leaves, flowers and the
Leaves: The leave are oval in shape and have a smooth or entire edge. When crushed they produce an aromatic scent. They are dark green and turn yellow in the fall.
Flowers: The small yellow flowers are found in clusters of 4-6 at the nodes from the previous year. They appear from April to May before the leaves.
Seeds: The fruits are shiny and bright red. They are aromatic and on a short stalk.
Stem: The mature bark is smooth and grey-brown in color. The young bark is green. The branches divide numerous times.
Branching Pattern: Alternate
Height: up to 10 feet in height
Conditions/Habitat/Kind of Forest: The spice bush can be found in damp woods, along streams and in swamps. This plant is very tolerant of the shade.
Known Wildlife Interactions: The flowers are insect pollinated. White tailed deer are know to eat the leaves and possibly the berries. The berries are also eaten by a numerous species of birds.
Range: Found in Eastern North America from Ontario, Canada south to Kentucky and west to Missouri and Kansas.
Conservation Status-US/ World Wide: Not threatened in the U.S. OR globally.
Uses (Human): The powder of the crushed dried berries can be used as a substitute for allspice in cooking. The lavender smelling leaves can also be used to make an aromatic tea.
Plants for a Future. June 2004. Accessed: April 6, 2006. <http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Polygonum+sagittatum>
The Pennsylvania Flora Project. Botany Department, Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. Accessed: April 6, 2006. <http://www.paflora.org>
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species <http://www.iucnredlist.org>
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. 1977. pg 442
Chadde, Steve W. A Great Lakes Wetland Flora. Pocketflora Press. 2002. pg.247
Redington, Charles B. Plants in Wetlands. Redington Field Guides.1994. pg. 136
This page was created by: A. Coiro ,
Photos by: L. Rosenberg, edited by N. Smith
Last updated 04/25/06