Discovering Spice Bush on a Springtime Walk

Ron Wilson

Plant of the Week – Spice Bush

Plant of the Week - Spice Bush

Mar 18, 2021

Yesterday I was walking along our old country road when I spied something very yellow, sort of fuzzy and delicate looking.

It was spicebush! Wow! I have one growing in my herb garden, but have never seen them in the woods here. That’s because

I wasn’t looking during the right season. And now is the season. Here’s a photo, along with some timely information from friend and colleague, Ron Wilson.

Think native, think early flowering, think slightly fragrant early flowers, think early pollinators, think fruits for wildlife, think sun to shade, think deer tolerant, think invasive honeysuckle replacement, think clay soils and wet soils, think tolerant of black walnuts, think butterfly food source (swallowtails), think aromatic leaves plus tea from the leaves (and twigs) …can you pick a plant that covers all of this?

Our weekly pick certainly does! Its Lindera benzoin, or commonly known as Spicebush, N. Spicebush, Wild Allspice, and even Forsythia of the Wilds.Large growing deciduous shrub with leaves 3-6 inches long, tiny pale yellow flowers in early spring (male plants / female plants), glossy red fruit on female plants, golden yellow fall color, tolerates shady moist areas but more sun and fuller plant with more fruit, no serious disease or insect issues…so yes, think Spice bush!

The berries, when they form in the autumn, are great allspice subs. They have a sort of peppery flavor to my palate.

2 thoughts on “Discovering Spice Bush on a Springtime Walk

    1. Hi, John,
      I would email my friend and colleague, Ron Wilson at – he would know where in the Dayton area spice bushes can be found. Now you may want to check a nearby arboretum, too. They are great sources.


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