Northern Spice Bush (Lindera benzoin)

Northern Spicebush 1

Northern Spice is another spring blooming small shrub and it is sometimes confused with the Carolina Sweet Shrub.    It has small white blossoms in the spring and then over the summer it develops red drupes (similar to berries).    It is a nice under story shrub that thrives in well drained soils in part shade to full sun.    In the wild it is often found at the edge of a clearing in a forested area.   In the fall the leaves have the most color (yellow) when it is in full sun.

northern Spicebush 2

The Cherokee used the Northern Spice Bush for both medicine and food.   They would use any part of the plant to induce sweating for the treatment of colds, cough and croup.   The bark was steeped with dogwood or wild cherry to break out measles.  A tea was made as a spring tonic.  Northern Spice Bush was used to flavor possum or ground hog.   The leaves are very aromatic when crushed.

The larva of the Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly only feeds on the leaves of the Northern Spicebush.    


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