Spicebush, named for its spicy, fragrant leaves and stems, is native to moist woodlands in the Midwest and occasionally found in the Chicago area. It is most often used in shrub borders and naturalizing landscaping. Bright red fruits ripen from July through October on female plants, but are only showy once the foliage falls off. High in fat content in the berries are quickly eaten by various species of birds.
This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
- Family (English) Laurel
- Family (botanic) Lauraceae
- Tree or plant type Shrub
- Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
- Size range Medium shrub (5-8 feet), Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
- Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil, Wet soil
- Tolerances Occasional drought, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
- Season of interest early spring, early fall
- Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Yellow
- Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Open, Round
- Growth rate Moderate, Slow