Spicebush

SpicebushMy latest photography project is to capture plants in their fall foliage.  In the past I focussed on plants when they were blooming and neglected later phases of their lives.  Tonight I processed photos taken a few days ago and realized I had taken photos of a large bush / small tree that I did not recognize.  So I took a walk down the driveway, found the bush and picked a sample leaf to take back to the house.

I got out my identification books.  It began to look like it was Spicebush (Lindera benzoin).  The field guide stated the crushed leaf has a distinctive pleasing aroma.  I crushed the leaf and smelled — expecting nothing.  Oh my — what a wonderful fragrance!

Now wait a minute — I planted spicebush this past May.  I looked through my photo files and found one photo of the bush I had planted.

Spicebush

Yes, the leaves looked the same.  Okay, now for the real test.  I decided to go outside in the dark (with a flashlight) and find a leaf on my planted spicebush.  Oh dear, it dropped its leaves already.  No, wait, there’s one small leaf left on the plant.  I picked it and made the comparison.  Same color (yellow and brown), same leaf shape and venation, and same fragrance!

SpicebushI am thrilled to have found this more mature spicebush.  All parts of the plant can be used medicinally and as a tea.  Another name for it is “wild allspice” — one more indication of how to use spicebush.

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