Spice Bush
(Lindera benzoin)

This  Shrub prefers the shade and moist undergrowth found in woodlands. It gets yellow Flowers in early Spring which grow in dense tufts that may hide its spotted branches in some areas, much as Forsythia does. It has smooth, shiny Leaves which grow alternately from spotted twigs. 

Red berries follow the Blossoms in late summer, and are relished by some Bird species which may strip the fruit and distribute the undigested seeds throughout the landscape to extend the range of the plant. 

Your own landscape may benefit from this fast-growing plant which responds well to pruning and makes it a candidate for hedges. Decomposing Oak leaves may add a degree of acidity to the soil it prefers. Mixed with other Berry-producing Shrubs, it can be instrumental in attracting Birds and  Wildlife to your back yard.

Spice Bush may be mistaken for Witch Hazel for its size, location in damp forest undergrowth, and yellow Blooms when the Limbs are bare of Leaves. But scraping your thumb nail over the twigs will release a pleasant Earthy fragrance, assuring you that this is indeed, Spice Bush.

In Autumn it rivals Sassafras and Sumac for beautification honors. And next Spring it may compete with yellow Daffodils for top billing. But with Birds there is no competition; Spice Bush wins, hands down.  

The bark and twigs of this Shrub make a very palatable Tea 
when they are simmered and sweetened with Honey or Sugar. 
They can be dried in Spring for use in Winter.

Be sure you recognize the Shrub, and have no associated allergies.

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