Lindera benzoin – Spicebush

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Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is a native deciduous shrub that can be found in moist areas.
Spicebush can be identified by its alternative, glossy leaves with smooth margins. The female plants produce glossy, red berries in early fall. The berries have a large seed inside. The shrub can grow up to 15 feet tall. Fruits and leaves produce a scent reminiscent of allspice and sassafras when crushed.
Spicebush twigs, buds, flowers, leaves, and fruit are edible. A mild chai-flavored tea can be made from the leaves and twigs. Berries have a complex spicy flavor. Berries can be dehydrated and kept in the freezer to use as an allspice substitute.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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