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Dear Friend and Gardener

I Went Shopping for Spice Bush for the Swallowtail Butterfly

Spicebush

Spice Bush, Lindera Benzoin

It’s spring and I went shopping  for Spice Bush. Yesterday, at the Hadley Garden Center I found a Spice Bush with bursting green buds. This Spice Bush, Lindera benzoin, is hardy, takes shade, and gets big, up to 12 feet tall and just as wide.  I will plant it next to the fence which a relatively dry spot, but spice bush can also tolerates some wet. One special reason for planting spice bush is that it attracts Spice Bush Swallowtail butterflies. Spice Bush Swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on  host plants like the Spice Bush. This is so when the eggs hatch and the caterpillars are born their meals are waiting for them.  Any butterfly garden must include host plants that will feed the particular caterpillar as well as nectar plants.

A little botanical history. Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828) honored Johan Linder (1676-1724) by naming the Lindera genus in his honor. As you might imagine the genus Thunbergia which includes Thunbergia alata, the  black eyed susan vine. is name for CP Thunberg

5 comments to I Went Shopping for Spice Bush for the Swallowtail Butterfly

  • We had a spice bush next to the garden pooI my grandfather made. My brother lives there now and I think that it is still there. Somehow I remember being told that it was not good for the Japanese Quince next to it, but I was very young then.

  • Ooh this is pretty!! I use benzoin when I make soap! I wonder if it is from this plant. It has an aroma that is very vanilla-like. I add it to help keep the essential oil scents of my soaps lasting longer. I want one!

  • Nan

    I just read this post yesterday, and this evening in my current book I read of the spice bush again, for only the second time in my life. Isn’t it amazing how that happens? Anyhow, it was in a chapter of Anne Raver’s Deep in the Garden. Have you read it?

  • Nan

    Deep in the Green, not Garden

  • Pat

    Judith – I have a friend who has both Spicebush and quince in her garden, but not right next to each other. A topic for investigation.
    Marjorie – you too – I have given me a topic for investigation. Where does benzoin come from?
    Nan I have read Deep in the Green – and I think it might be time for me to go back and re-read – or at least browse through it again. Do you find that different things catch your eye and your mind with re-reading?

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