Butterfly Garden Plant Lindera benzoin Spicebush

Butterfly Garden Plants

Northern Spicebush

(Lindera benzoin)

Other common names for this plant include

General Information
Cultural Requirements
Native Range
Plant Rating
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General InformationNABA_DividerBar

Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar

Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar

Useful in a shrub border or at the back of a perennial bed, Northern Spicebush starts the growing season with small but fragrant yellow flowers which bloom along the twigs before the leaves emerge. During the growing season, the shrub produces glossy leaves that are pest and disease free.

Should Northern Spicebush grow too large for it’s garden spot, it is easily cut back in the spring. In the fall, the leaves turn a rich golden-yellow. Finally, if you have planted both a male and female Northern Spicebush (to do this, you must plant a few and hope for the best), you will be rewarded with small, red-purple fruit that becomes readily apparent after the leaves fall but before it is eaten by birds.

Read more about the use of Spicebush for butterfly gardening in a reprint of an article from Butterfly Gardener magazine: Caterpillar Food Plant: Spicebush

Importance as a butterfly nectar source:
With insignificant early spring flowers, Northern Spicebush is not a nectar source.

Importance as a caterpillar food source:
The caterpillar of the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly feeds on Spicebush leaves. Caterpillar eggs are laid singly on the underside of the leaves. The caterpillars spend most of the day in rolled up leaf shelters, coming out to feed at night.


Cultural RequirementsNABA_DividerBar

USDA Hardiness Zone 4 to 9
Bloom Period April
Bloom Color Greenish yellow, insignificant
Plant Height 6 to 12 feet
Plant Spread 6 to 12 feet
Light Exposure Sun to part shade
Soil Moisture Average
Animal/Disease Problems Non


Native RangeNABA_DividerBar
Lindera benzoin







Plant RatingNABA_DividerBar
Plant rating scale ranges from 0 to 3. Plants rating 3 are the most useful for butterfly gardens. For more details on the ratings, see Native Plant Ratings

Garden Rating 3
Nectar Rating 0
Caterpillar Rating 3


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