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Spicebush

Updated: Oct 19, 2020


Lindera benzoin is a beautiful native shrub, 6-8 feet in height that is deer resistant.


When planted in partial to full sun, it’s the favorite host plant for the spicebush swallowtail butterfly, whose caterpillars disguise themselves as a green tree snake to deter bird predation. To spot them, look for leaf damage and leaves that look folded in half…this is where they hide when they’re not eating. Just before they cocoon, they turn orange.

To maintain shape or control height, prune after yellow spring flowers fade. Plant in moist, well-drained soil in full sun to full shade.


To cultivate from berries, skim the outer covering/berry off the large inner seed (this helps prevent mold) and keep it moist and refrigerated until the ground thaws in spring. Alternatively, you can simply bury them now (without skinning them) and let them cold stratify naturally through the winter. Watch for shoots to emerge in late spring.

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