Spicebush, Lindera benzoin

Also known as Northern Spicebush or Wild Allspice

A graceful woodland deciduous shrub with slender branches. Grows to between 6 and 12 feet tall in favorable conditions. It prefers moist, partly shaded locations and is tolerant of a variety of soils. It can grow in sun, part shade or shade in a variety of well- drained soils and has no serious disease or insect problems.

Tea can be made from the aromatic leaves and twigs, but I prefer to dry the berries and use them in sweet or savory dishes. The flavor is hard to describe beyond a bit peppery, and a bit woodsy.

Larval host for Eastern Tiger and Spicebush Swallowtails and the Promethea silkmoth.

It has an open airy form. Photo by K. Mulcahy

Spring flowers. Photo by K. Mulcahy

Flower detail. Photo by K. Mulcahy

Edible berries. Photo by K. Mulcahy

Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar. I have no idea how it got in the house, but it was returned to the outdoors immediately after its portrait. Photo by K. Mulcahy

Spicebush Swallowtail. Photo by K. Mulcahy

Sources:https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants, https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=caam2, various other authoritative resources and personal experience.