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House with native plants and animalsGoing Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants
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Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

Spicebush is a deciduous shrub that may grow to 6 to 8 feet. The leaves are alternate with a smooth margin. Leaves produce a spicy odor when crushed. The bark is brown to gray-brown and speckled with light colored lenticels. In early spring, small, yellow flowers mature in axillary clusters. The shrub produces a bright red drupe with a peppery taste and scent. The fruit matures in the fall.


Host plant for the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly. Fruits are eaten by songbirds, especially during fall migration. White-tailed deer will browse twigs and leaves.

Plant Type Shrub
Leaf Type Deciduous
Deer Resistance Low
Regions Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plain
Light Full Sun, Partial Sun/Shade, Full Shade
Soil Moist, Dry
Bloom Times Early Spring
Seed Times Fall
Wildlife Value Fleshy Fruit, Butterfly Larvae Host
NC Forest ServiceNC Cooperative Extension