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Berries in the fall


Lindera benzoin

Common Name: Spicebush
Family: Lauraceae

Description: This shrub is know for its strong scents which are produced by the leaves, flowers and the berries.
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. 
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.
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:
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.  <>

The Pennsylvania Flora Project.  Botany Department, Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.  Accessed:  April 6, 2006. <>

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species <>

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 , Muhlenberg College
Photos by: L. Rosenberg, edited by N. Smith
Last updated 04/25/06