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Spice Bush or Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) - 10  Spicebush (4506720062).jpg    Full-grown fifth instar larva of spicebush swallowtail, Papilio troilus L.

 

NAME: Spicebush

SPECIES / FAMILY:  Lindera Benzoin / Lauraceae

OTHER COMMON NAME(S): 

CONDITIONS: shade/partial shade, woods
 

PARTS:

EDIBLE cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

TASTE

RAW/COOK

SEASON

All

 

 

 

 

Shoots

 

 

 

 

Leaves

allspice

RAW/DRY/COOK

Spring-Fall

Stalk/Stem

 

 

 

 

Buds

       

Flowers, yellow

allspice

RAW/COOK

Spring

Fruits

allspice

DRY/COOK

Fall

Pods

 

 

   

Seeds

 

 

 

 

Nuts

 

 

 

 

Roots

 

 

 

 

Bark

twigs

allspice

RAW/COOK

All

 

PORTION: small, spice

 

COMMENT:  One of the first bushes that blossoms yellow flowers in late winter.  For a real treat, scratch and sniff the outer bark of a spice bush twig. the aroma hints of exotic spices. The twigs are best gathered when in flower as the nectar adds considerably to the flavor. The leaves can also be used, but are not as flavorful as the twigs.  Both twigs and leaves are great for teas and cold drinks, but the berries (only on the female bushes) are much stronger; dried and ground, they make a great spice and can be used as a substitute for allspice and cinnamon.(1)  According to one author, the berries will "knock your socks off."(8) Spicebush provides not one, but two dried spices: one sharp and peppery in spring, one savory and spicy in the fall. Unusually, both of these can also be used fresh, as the basis for curry or spice pastes, or preserved whole a la capers. (9) It is also home to the Spicebush Swallowtail (cutest caterpillar EVER) - http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/spicebush_swallowtail.htm

 

CAUTION:

 

NUTRITION/MEDICINAL:  Aromatic;  Astringent;  Diaphoretic;  Disinfectant;  Febrifuge;  Stimulant;  Tonic.(1)

 

LOOK-A-LIKES:  

 

POISONOUS LOOK-A-LIKES: 

 

OTHER USES: Disinfectant;  Repellent. The leaves contain small quantities of camphor and can be used as an insect repellent and disinfectant. An oil with a lavender-like fragrance is obtained from the leaves. The fruit, upon distillation, yield a spice-scented oil resembling camphor. An oil smelling of wintergreen is obtained from the twigs and bark.(1) Home to the Spicebush Swallowtail - http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/spicebush_swallowtail.htm

 

SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):

  1. http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lindera+benzoin
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindera_benzoin
  3. https://ouroneacrefarm.com/foraging-spicebush-spicebush-ice-cream-recipe
  4. http://the3foragers.blogspot.com/2012/03/spicebush-identified.html
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Lindera_benzoin (lots of photos)
  6. http://www.eattheplanet.org/spicebush-a-warm-fall-woodland-spice
  7. https://sycamorelandtrust.org/2016/11/make-spicebush-tea (recipe)
  8. https://www.backyardforager.com/spicebush-berries-lindera-benzoin (a big fan of the berries)
  9. https://howtocookaweed.com/2017/08/08/spicebush-a-spice-for-all-seasons (great info)
  10. https://www.atlasobscura.com/foods/american-spicebush-berry (foragers can use the fruit in just about any recipe that calls for cinnamon or allspice.)