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Published In: Museum Botanicum 1: 324. 1851. (Mus. Bot.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library
 

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/25/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native

 

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1. Lindera benzoin (L.) Blume (spice bush)

Pl. 445 d–f; Map 2010

Plants shrubs, 1.2–3.0(–4.5) m tall. Leaves 1–15 cm long, oriented in ascending to spreading positions, the blade angled or tapered at the base, the upper surface glabrous or sparsely hairy along the midvein, dark green, the undersurface glabrous or sparsely to moderately hairy, mostly along the veins, pale and usually somewhat glaucous, the secondary veins all more or less parallel, the network of tertiary veinlets between the secondary veins inconspicuous. Fruit stalks 3–5 mm long, remaining slender throughout at maturity (1.0–1.5 mm in diameter at the tip), glabrous or sparsely hairy. Fruits 6–10 mm long. Seed usually broadly ellipsoid, the surface often partially covered with a pale deposit. 2n=24. March–May.

Scattered to common in the Ozark, Ozark Border, Unglaciated Plains, and Mississippi Lowlands Divisions, but absent from all but the eastern portion of the Glaciated Plains (eastern U.S. west to Iowa and Texas; Canada). Bottomland forests, mesic upland forests, banks of streams, spring branches, and rivers, bases and ledges of bluffs, and occasionally margins of lakes; also shaded roadsides.

Lindera benzoin has sometimes been divided into two varieties, the mostly northern var. benzoin, with the leaves and twigs glabrous, and the more southerly var. pubescens (E.J. Palmer & Steyerm.) Rehder, with the leaves and twigs hairy (Steyermark, 1963). Missouri is in the broad region of geographic and morphological overlap between these morphotypes. Although the extremes are strikingly different, many Missouri specimens are only slightly hairy. Thus, it seems unreasonable to formally recognize infraspecific taxa, at least in our region.

Spicebush is an attractive ornamental in the shade garden that is early-flowering but produces attractive red fruits. Steyermark (1963) noted that staminate plants produce more showy inflorescences than do pistillate clones.

 


 

 
 
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