The Spicebush is a deciduous shrub or a small tree with mid-green leaves and yellow flowers. It is a lovely harbinger of spring because it is one of the first woodland plants to bloom in the spring. The leaves and twigs are aromatic and have a wonderful, refreshing, spicy and lemon-like scent. The flowers are small and light yellow with 6 tepals. They are in rounded clusters on the twigs. The flowers produce bright red, berry-like fruits in the summer and autumn. The spicebush is an understory plant and grows in rich woods and swamps. It is in the same plant family, the laurel family, as other aromatic plants like the sassafras and cinnamon. Native to eastern North America from southern Canada south to Florida and west to Kansas and Texas. Host of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly. It can be grown in woodlands, native plant gardens and in butterfly gardens. Hardy in zones 4-9.
Growing Instructions for the Spicebush
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year. 1. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. 2. Put the mixture in a ziplock bag. 3. Put the bag in the refrigerator and leave it there for 4 months. 4. Fill a container with a good quality soil. 5. Sow the seeds on the soil. 6. Cover the seeds with a layer of soil. 7. Water the seeds. 8. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.