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Spicebush

Posted by mbuckmaster 7B/NC (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 29, 08 at 21:23

I have a strange question about spicebush (lindera benzoin). I have a ton of this plant growing in my woods...so much so that I'm worried it's invasive in some way. It certainly isn't on the NC list, and I can't find any information to suggest it has this tendency, but it is everywhere, so I just wondered if anyone knew anything about this. Thanks for the help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Spicebush

It wouldn't be on the invasive list because it's a native plant. You must have moist woods, that's the only place I've seen where it gets aggressive. Dig some small ones up and give them to friends - it really is a nice shrub and it's the host plant for spicebush and tiger swallowtail butterflies.


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RE: Spicebush

Thanks again, esh. I do have pretty moist woods--they border a creek and some parts get standing water during heavy rains. I even found some spicebush growing UNDER some rosa multiflora!...quite a feat, since the rose bush was over 7' tall and immensely thick. I'll follow your suggestion of digging and giving them away to friends while trying to keep an equal portion of males and females in the woods for fruiting. I appreciate the sage advice!


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RE: Spicebush

Hey, one thought on keeping tracking of the males and females. Take some surveyor tape (you can buy it at Home Depot usually in the tools area at mine, comes in bright pink, green, orange and blue) and tag the ones that are blooming now (leave it long enough to write on later). Later when the berries appear, you can write on the tape "female" for the ones that have berries and "male" for the ones that bloomed but didn't have berries; or since writing fades, replace the ribbons with pink tape for the females.

There are ways to look closely at the flowers and tell which are male and female, but I find this way a lot easier. :)

Good luck, I'm sure you'll find some willing recipients. This shrub is not readily available in the trade. I lost my only male in this year's drought so I've got four lonely females to deal with! A friend of mine that has it in her yard promised to find me a male this year.

Another good shrub for wet areas if you don't have it and want to increase diversity is Viburnum nudum.


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RE: Spicebush

Ah, yes...simply brilliant. I have been trying to discern the genders by the different bloom pictures I've found online. But this has been difficult for my novice eyes, to say the least! All the blooms look different to me. The surveyor's tape will be much easier. Thanks for the tip! I'm sure that will also make the trade value that much higher; which is good for me, since I have virtually nothing to trade right now, even though I want plenty! =)

Let me know if you still need a male this fall and I'd be happy to send it out...although I have no idea how to ship a plant.

Also, thanks for the viburnum suggestion...another cool little shrub.


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RE: Spicebush

Come join the NCNPS at our annual picnic in Hagen Stone State Park below Pleasant Garden. It is not far from you, and you can bring plants to donate to our auction, which is a source for our BW Wells scholarships. Last year a woman near you found a very rare plant on her property, so your area must really be good for plants! And Esh, thanks for the idea about marking these shrubs. I had four small ones bloom this spring, which is strange due to our drought last year. It is the first time that all have bloomed, and now maybe I can find out if I have a female AND a male!


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RE: Spicebush

Thanks for bringing the NCNPS membership to my attention, ncrescue. Looks very worthwhile, and a lot of fun! I will check it out.


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RE: Spicebush

I'll bet the reason you see a lot of them is that they may not be the thing deer like best to eat. They're very common in the woods around me but almost all the other understory plants are exotics that the deer also don't eat.


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RE: Spicebush

Update here...I tagged most my spicebush today in my woods (thanks for the suggestion again, esh). I only have about a little less than half an acre of woodland bordering a creek, but I tagged 49 spicebush today! And I'm sure I missed a few, since many of the smaller ones have lost their flowers by now. It's nice that they're so prolific, but...wow. There's a lot of them!


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RE: Spicebush

It's wonderful that you've got so many spicebushes mbuckmaster! The spicebush swallowtails around here mainly lay their eggs on sassafras, but I still plan on planting some spicebushes in the bottom of the hollow, where it's wet most of the time.
Sherry


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RE: Spicebush

The spicebush is a native invasive, but the multiflora rose most certainly is. You might seriously consider grubbing it out or spraying it, because it will spread, and probably fairly fast. The native carolina rose (Rosa carolina) is a nice replacement for the multiflora rose.

I've got a ton of spicebush (it is very successful here on the Eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge, in acidic soils), and I just love it. Early spring flowers to cheer me up, and it is an extremely valuable wildlife plant. The berries are edible (I chop them up and use them for cooking), and even the leaves are tasty to nibble on during a walk through the woods. Plus, as a poster noted earlier, it is one of the few things the deer won't annihilate.


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RE: Spicebush

I definitely am destroying the multiflora...it is a long and oddly satisfying process. I can't chop it down quickly enough before it spouts right back. I'm holding off on spraying until I can't take it anymore...right now, cutting it out is both good exercise and therapeutic!

Do you have any spicebush recipes to share, turbo? I wonder why they're so good to us and the deer don't like them?.... =)


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