Spice bush

Common Name: 
Spice bush
Scientific Name Genus: 
Family Name: 
Identification Notes
Best grown in moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade with best fall color in full sun. Can tolerate heavy shade but will have a more open spreading habit.
Native Habitat
Native to the eastern United States from Maine to Florida. Hardy to zones 4-9.
Growth Habit
Broad, rounded shrub growing 6-12' tall and wide. Slow growing.
Simple, alternate, oblong to obovate light green leaves. 3.5-5" long and up to 2" wide.
Good fall color. Yellow to golden yellow.
Aromatic when crushed.
Bark and Stems
Slender, green-brown stems with lenticels. Fragrant when broken.
Lindera benzoin stems
Small, green-yellow flowers in early spring before foliage. Fragrant.
Dioecious, meaning separate male and female plants. Male flowers are larger and showier.
Lindera benzoin flower
Spice bush in flower
Female plants have a red oval drupe growing up to 0.5". Drupes ripen in fall and are frequently eaten by birds.
Bloom Time
Common Problems
No serious problems
Varieties or Cultivars
'Green Gold' - non fruiting form with large blooms.
'Xanthocarpa' - orange-yellow fruit.
'Rubra' - non-fruiting form with red-brown blooms.
Landscape Uses
Best used in the shrub border, woodland gardens, shade gardens, or for naturalizing. Also good around streams or ponds. Early season bloom, good fall color, attracts birds and butterflies.