Lindera benzoin

Full sun to part shade
Medium to medium dry soil
12 feet tall
Blooms in early spring
Bloom color yellow

Spicebush is most known as being the host plant for Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars. Eastern Tiger Swallowtails have been known to use it as a host, too.

Pot size: One gallon

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Our Experience

We first planted Spicebushes in the shady part of our habitat. The bushes struggled and only one survived. We then planted one in full sun and soon were finding dozens of caterpillars folded up in the leaves. Last year we planted two more bushes in the same area.

What we have learned is that if planted in the full sun they do require a lot more water which is to be expected. We have seen very mature Spicebushes at the NCBG in Chapel Hill that are in full to part sun.

The bush when fully leaved is non-descript. In the wild my secret to a positive ID is to break a leaf and give it a whiff. Spicebush leaves have a distinct, crisp clean scent. This scent does not carry over into the caterpillar frass like with other caterpillars. You can tell the diet of a Black Swallowtail because dill and fennel are very aromatic.


Prunus serotina, Black cherry. Peace Dale woods.” by Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project’s photostream under license CC BY 2.0

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