Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Lindera melissifolia (Walter) Blume
- Family: Laurel (Lauraceae)
- Flowering: March-April
- Field Marks: This spicebush has aromatic leaves and red, ellipsoid drupes. It differs from the
common spicebush (Lindera benzoin) by its narrower leaves rounded at the base and its distinctly
veiny leaves, at least as seen from the under surface.
- Habitat: Swampy areas, bogs, pond margins, sandy sinkholes.
- Habit: Shrub to 6 feet tall.
- Stems: Slender, gray to brown, hairy at first, becoming smooth with age.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, aromatic, elliptic to oval to narrowly ovate, pointed at the tip, usually
rounded at the base, toothless, usually hairy on both surfaces, conspicuously veiny on the lower
surface, up to 4 inches long, up to 1 1/2 inches wide.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne separately and usually on separate plants, usually before
the leaves expand, in small clusters.
- Sepals: 3, yellow, free from each other, about 1/10 inch long.
- Petals: 3, yellow, free from each other, about 1/10 inch long.
- Stamens: Usually 9, sometimes 10 or 11, the innermost with a pair of glands at base.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Drupes ellipsoid, shiny, bright red, up to 1/2 inch long; stalks of drupes up to 1/2 inch
long, swollen at the tip.
- Notes: This is a Federally threatened species and receives protection under the Endangered
Species Act of 1973.
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