Lindera benzoin Northern Spicebush Potted Plants
(lin-DEER-ruh  ben-ZOH-in)

Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers Native Wild Flower Seeds and Plants
for Home Landscaping and Prairie Restorations

Lindera benzoin Spice Bush flower picture Habitat Bloom Period Flower Color
Greenish Yellow
Height Moisture Plant Spacing Lifespan
Spicebush flower
in very early spring shown several times actual size
 Sun to 
Early Spring  Bright Red fruit in fall 6 to 12 ft  average to moist 5 to 10 ft long lived shrub

Lindera benzoin Spice Bush is the host plant for Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillars.
Click on pictures for larger images

Spicebush caterpillar House
(folded leaf)
small Spicebush Butterfly caterpillar Spicebush caterpillar on spicebush leaf Spicebush
Lindera benzoin Spicebush  berries
Older Spicebush caterpillar  Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly pupa -  
top view
 Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly pupa -  
side view
Spice Bush caterpillar house leaf of Lindera benzoin Spice Bush baby Spice Bush caterpillar on spicebush leaf Spice Bush caterpillar on spicebush leaf Spice Bush caterpillar  on spicebush leaf Spicebush Caterpillar Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly pupa picture top view Spicebush pupa picture side view

Lindera benzoin Spice Bush Butterfly caterpillar  photos by cj     Click on pictures for larger image

Lindera benzoin Spicebush potted plants are $8.00 each plus boxing/shipping.

Potted Plants are available

 email with your zip code and number of plants for the cost for shipping potted plants.

 For our other native wildflowers visit the Wildflower Seed and Potted Plant Price List 

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Lindera (lin-DEER-ruh) = Named for Johann Linder, 18th century Swedish botanist
benzoin (ben-ZOH-in) = From an Arabic word for aromatic gum

Showy fragrant fruit, fragrant leaves, fragrant flowers, attracts butterflies, attracts birds, showy flowers, good fall color, can be grown as hedge,

Lindera benzoin Spicebush has been grown as an ornamental for home landscaping since 1683.

Seeds may require a warm-cold stratification regime to germinate. Plant seeds when ripe in the fall for spring germination.
Spicebush is a showy native shrub of damp woods often having several stems.  Flowers are a greenish yellow and bloom in early spring.  Showy bright red fruits grow along the limbs in September-October, they are 1/4 inch long egg shapped and are solitary or in small clusters.  Fruits are glossy red, fleshy, and have a strong spicy fragrance.  Leaves are 2 to 6 inches long oval shaped bright green above and whitish below.  Leaves are the food source for spicebush caterpillars.  Native spicebush shrubs grow wild in low or moist woods and along streams from Florida to Central Texas, north to Maine and west to Ontario and Michigan.  
At least 24 species of birds feed on the fruit, rabbits and deer nibble on the leaves.  Spicebush is used to make a medicinal tea.
Leaves have been used as a substitute for tea.
The Fruit has been used as a substitute for allspice.
Spicebush leave remain a dark green into Autumn eventually turning a greenish yellow.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Fall color is best in sunny areas. Tolerates full shade, but habit becomes more open and wide-spreading.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Spicebush is a Missouri native deciduous shrub with a broad, rounded habit which typically grows 6-12' (less frequently to 15') high in moist locations in bottomlands, woods, ravines, valleys and along streams. Clusters of tiny, apetulous, aromatic, greenish-yellow flowers bloom along the branches in early spring before the foliage emerges. Dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants), with the male flowers being larger and showier than the female ones. Flowers of female plants give way to bright red drupes (to 1/2" long) which mature in fall and are attractive to birds. Female plants need a male pollinator in order to set fruit, however. Drupes are very attractive, but are largely hidden by the foliage until the leaves drop. Thick, oblong-obovate, light green leaves (to 5" long) turn an attractive yellow in autumn. Leaves are aromatic when crushed. The larva (caterpillar) of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly feeds on the leaves of this shrub. Lindera is named for the Swedish botanist, Johann Lindler.

Problems: No serious insect or disease problems.


Shrub borders, shade or woodland gardens, moist areas along streams or ponds, native plant gardens or naturalized plantings.

Lauraceae (Laurel Family)

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.

In the North this plant is thought of as the “forsythia of the wilds” because its early spring flowering gives a subtle yellow tinge to many lowland woods where it is common. A tea can be made from the aromatic leaves and twigs.Spicebush is a fast-growing shrub, useful in moist, shady places. A small amount of sun yields a bush with better form and more berries. There are no serious disease or insect problems.
 Spicebush is a fast-growing shrub that prefers moist, shady places
A tea can be made from the aromatic leaves and twigs, and the tried and powdered fruit can be used as a spice.
Larval Host: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail
Collect seeds in late summer through October when the fruit has turned red. Seeds must be cleaned before storing. Store seeds in moist sand or sow immediately. Seeds allowed to dry out lose viability.
Seed Treatment: Stratify for 90-120 days at 41 degrees. Some texts say double stratification (a month of warm stratification followed by 3 months of cool stratification) is necessary.

Lindera benzoin Spice Bush  seeds are not available at this time

Lindera benzoin Spicebush  potted plants are $8.00 each plus UPS shipping.
email with your zip code and number of plants for availability and shipping charges on potted plants 

Lindera benzoin Spice Bush  is a very attractive native shrub found growing wild in open woods and along streams.

The map below shows areas where native Lindera benzoin Spicebush  shrubs grow wild but they can be planted and will grow over most of the Midwest and Eastern US.  USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 9.

Lindera benzoin 
Spice Bush 


New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina

South Carolina
Rhode Island
West Virginia

Lindera benzoin Spice Bush Plant distribution map complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
  ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Please contact us by email for availability and shipping charges on Lindera benzoin Spice Bush  potted plants

to order copy and mail the order form
email questions, comments and orders to

Lindera benzoin Spice Bush seeds are NOT available at this time.  Northern Spicebush seeds must be planted when fresh in the fall and do not germinate until the next spring.

We accept payment by check, money order, and through Paypal

Use the chart below for shipping charges on our other native wild flower seeds,
The minimum seed order amount is $10, this can be a combination of different seeds on this site.


subtotal for flower seeds 

shipping charge for seeds

seed orders up to  $20.00    =  

 $4.00 shipping

$20.01 - $50.00    =  

 $6.00 shipping

$50.01-$100.00    =  

 $7.50 shipping

over $100.00    =    7.5 % of subtotal


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PO Box  522
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Phone 417-469-2611 

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Alternate Names
Northern spicebush, Benjaminbush
Over 20 species of birds, as well as deer, rabbits, raccoons, and opossums have been recorded as browsing the leaves or eating the fruits. The fruits are a special favorite of wood thrushes. The spicebush swallowtail, Papilio troilus (L.), lays its eggs on spicebush and other plants in the Laurel Family – sassafras, redbay, and camphortree.
There apparently are no commercial uses of spicebush, but the essential oils of leaves, twigs, and fruits have lent themselves for minor use for tea, and dried fruits have been used in fragrant sachets. Native Americans used dried fruits as a spice and the leaves for tea. Extracts have been used for drugs, including anti-arthritic, diaphoretic, emetic and herbal steam. The benzoin of drug trade is produced by species of Styrax (Styraceae).
Because of its habitat in rich woods, early land surveyors and settlers used spicebush as an indicator species for good agricultural land.
Spicebush plants make nicely shaped shrubs with deep green leaves and, if in at least partial sun, the leaves turn bright yellow in the fall. It is a good choice for plantings in shady locations but can also grow in full sun. Moist soil is best.
Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.
General: Laurel Family (Lauraceae). Native shrubs, growing mostly 1-3(-5) meters tall, sometimes a small tree; reproducing asexually by root sprouting (most spicebush patches and thickets are probably clonal). Leaves are thin, deciduous, glabrous or sparsely pubescent on the lower surface, obovate to oblong or elliptic, 6-14 cm long, pointed at both ends, entire, on petioles 5-12 mm long, usually largest at the branch tips, decreasing in size down the branch. Flowers appearing before the leaves, in clusters on nodes of last year’s growth, either staminate (pollen-producing), with 9 fertile stamens, or pistillate (with a fertile ovary and 12-18 rudimentary, infertile stamens), both types with 6 short, yellowish sepals, the female and male on different plants (the species dioecious). Fruit is a short-stalked, ellipsoid, shiny-red berry 6-10 mm long, with a single seed. The common name refers to the sweet, spicy fragrance of the stems, leaves, and fruits when bruised.
Variation within the species: Lindera benzoin var. pubescens (Palmer and Steyermark) Rehd. is the more southern form of the species, absent from the northernmost states of the species range, with twigs and lower leaf surfaces hairy (vs. glabrous in var. benzoin). Var. benzoin does not occur in the states directly bordering the Gulf of Mexico.
Two closely related species (the only other species of the genus in North America) occur in the southeastern US, where they are rare throughout their range –– Lindera melissifolia (Walt.) Blume, pondberry or southern spicebush, and Lindera subcoriacea B.E. Wofford, bog spicebush. Allozyme studies of populations of spicebush and pondberry show that both species have low levels of genetic diversity.
Spicebush occurs over all of the eastern US, from east Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas eastward to the Atlantic states as far north as Maine (and Ontario),
William S. Justice
Botany Dept., NMNH, Smithsonian Institution
not reported from Wisconsin. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Adaptation: Spicebush is primarily an understory species, sometimes forming thickets, of rich, mesic sites on acidic to basic soils. Common habitats are low woods, swamp margins, and streamsides. Flowering: March-April; fruits maturing August-October (-November).
General: Seeds are dispersed as animals and birds eat the fruits. Seeds germinate in the litter layer in the spring or they may remain viable in the seed bank for many years. Much of the reproduction is clonal through root sprouting.
Spicebush successfully grows and reproduces in a wide range of light conditions. Although it does grow and reproduce under completely closed canopy, openings in the canopy increase growth rate. It is considered difficult to transplant but has few serious disease problems.
Cultivars, Improved and Selected Materials (and area of origin)
These plant materials are readily available from commercial sources. Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”
Carter, M. and P. Feeny 1999. Host-plant chemistry influences oviposition choice of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly. J. Chem. Ecol. 25:1999-2009.
Cipollini, M.L. and D.F. Whigham 1994. Sexual dimorphism and cost of reproduction in the dioecious shrub Lindera benzoin (Lauraceae). Amer. J. Bot. 81:65-75.
Cipollini, M.L., Wallace-Senft, D.A., and D.F. Whigham 1994. A model of patch dynamics, seed dispersal and sex ratio in the dioecious shrub Lindera benzoin (Lauraceae). J. Ecol. 82:621-633.
Godt, M.J.W. and J.L. Hamrick 1996. Allozyme diversity in the endangered shrub Lindera melissifolia (Lauraceae) and its widespread congener