Spicebush, A Warm Fall Woodland Spice

A message from EatThePlanet.org: "We are happy you found us! We strive to be informative and accurate. Enjoy what you find here! Take a look at our new downloadable pdf eBook A Complete Guide To Foraging. We put a lot of work into this eBook and are very excited to share it with you." - Joe Forager(Owner)

Spicebush berries and leaves
Spicebush berries and leaves (Photo By: Cody Hough, college student and photographer in the Michgian area)

Spicebush(Lindera benzoin) is a shrub native to north eastern United States.  It is a common woodland shrub that can be identified easily by the fragrance of its crushed leaves.  The leaf shape is difficult to distinguish, especially for beginners.  This plant produces red berries in summer which is a prized item for wildlife.  The species is dioecious which means that male and female plants exist and berries only form on female plants.

Edibility and Culinary Use

The leaves and berries of this plant can be eaten raw or cooked.  A tea can be made from all parts of this plant, most commonly twigs and leaves, it has a refreshing flavor and texture.  Also the berries that ripen in early fall have a taste similar to allspice, it is a warm spice that can be used in baking and pies.  They are usually used fresh or frozen for later use.  The leaves can also be eaten raw, usually as a condiment, and the young bark is said to be good to chew on.

Health Benefits

This plant is known for its use in the treatment of colds, fevers, dysentery, and internal parasites.  This safe plant with no knows hazards is a traditional medicine of the Native Americans and is known for its powerful health benefits.  This plant should be studied more for its beneficial compounds.


This is a safe and delicious plant that is typically hidden away in the forests of the North East.  But it is easy to find in the under story of the woods since it only grows about 5’ tall.  Yet another plant that is often underappreciated and undervalued by most people, adding this plant to your diet will be a great experience with good health benefits.

Many of our readers find that subscribing to Eat The Planet is the best way to make sure they don't miss any of our valuable information about wild edibles.

Like our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg

See our privacy policy for more information about ads on this site

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prunella vulgaris – Self-heal

Self-heal/ “Heal-all” (Prunella vulgaris) is a native edible and medicinal plant in the mint family. Self-heal can be identified by its opposite leaves, square stem,

Read More »