Lindera benzoin (spicebush)

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Notes

Characteristics

  • Tall, aromatic shrub, to 5 m high; several stems arise from a common base, their arching branches forming a wide-spreading, open, rounded or flat-topped crown.
  • Roots shallow
  • Bark thin, dark gray, slightly roughened by corky lenticels.
  • Leaves alternate, simple, blades 5-15 cm long and about half as wide, shoots often bearing leaves markedly different in size; obovate to oval or elliptic, acute or short-acuminate; entire; thin; glabrous, light green above, paler and sometimes pubescent on veins beneath, turning yellow in autumn; veins prominent; pleasantly aromatic when crushed; petioles 0.5-2 cm long.
  • Twigs slender, green or olive brown with pale corky lenticels, aromatic, spicy to taste.
  • Winter buds small, superposed, ovoid, green, aromatic; terminal bud absent; flower buds conspicuous in clusters in autumn and winter.
  • Flowers March-May, before the leaves; insect-pollinated; borne in dense cluster; 0.5-1 cm across; yellow; fragrant; plants dioecious or polygamous.
  • Fruit a drupe; July-September; subglobose-oblong, bright red, spicy aromatic, 0.6-1.2 cm long.

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Pictures

Many come from Steve Baskauf at Vanderbilt University

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