April 2022: Spicebush

In previous spring posts, we went over Planting for Queens, Spring Planting, Baby Animals in Spring, and Getting Those Invasives.

You’ll begin seeing forsythia in bloom, but let me direct your attention to a softer native shrub: spicebush (Lindera benzoin). You might see spicebush when you look into a wooded area in the springtime, particularly where the ground is low and wet, though it can grow in drier places. Its early, yellow blooms aren’t as prolific as forsythia, but it has something forsythia doesn’t: pollen and nectar. The reason you never see pollinators around forsythia is that it offers nothing. No food, not even as a host plant for caterpillars.

Meanwhile, spicebush offers nectar for a variety of small flies and bees. It blooms a little too early for moths and butterflies, but it’s still useful to them. 

Spicebush is a host plant for eleven Lepidopteran species, including the Spicebush Swallowtail.

Spicebush produces berries, and over 20 species of birds feed on the berries. In the fall, the leaves turn golden yellow, so it also provides autumn interest.

Anyway, you have a shady spot in the yard? One with some medium or moist soil? Spicebush is the perfect addition. It will also grow in full sun.

Looking for more native plants for the yard?

Here are two Connecticut nurseries:

Earth Tones Native Nursery, Woodbury, CT https://www.earthtonesnatives.com/

Native: A Native Plant Nursery, Fairfield, CThttps://www.anativeplantnursery.com/

Live in New York? Check out these nurseries:

Catskill Native Nursery, Kerhonksen, NY https://www.catskillnativenursery.com/

Long Island Natives, Eastport, NY https://longislandnatives.com/

Want to be part of the Pollinator Pathway? Check out this website: https://www.pollinator-pathway.org/