ftshl-wildrosesmp8-sm.jpg (9176 bytes)Spice Bush or Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
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Flowering Trees, Bushes and Shrubs of Sleepy Hollow Lake
Spice Bush or Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
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(Spice Bush - 01)  In early spring, before the leaves open, the tiny greenish yellow spice bush flowers bloom.  The clinging vine to the right of the photo is not part of the spice bush.




(Spice Bush - 01a)  This is a close up of a spice bush flower cluster surrounding a leaf bud.







(Spice Bush - 02)  This is another cluster of early spring spice bush flowers.  Some of these flowers have not yet fully opened.  The spice bush is a native North American plant.




(Spice Bush - 02a)  In this photo we have a bee's eye view of some of the spice bush's tiny 1/8 inch diameter flowers.  We have not found anything in the literature describing the flower details.  They each appear to have six petals, six stamens, and one pistil, but we cannot be positive.






(Spice Bush - 03)  In this photo we can see some of the interesting things we have observed about the spice bush.  The terminal ends of the branches do not seem to develop and flowers around the new leaf buds as they do farther down the branch.  The bark of the spice bush has tiny whitish "nodes" or "scales".










(Spice Bush - 04)  Even before the red leaf bud of the spice bush begins to open, the tiny greenish yellow flowers are opening.





(Spice Bush - 04a)  In this photo we have a closer look at the unopened spice bush leaf bud and the just opening flower buds.









(Spice Bush - 05)  Several flower clusters have sprouted from this spice bush branch.





(Spice Bush - 05a)  In this photo, we can observe that there are a few spice bush flowers contained within the bracts of one bud.





(Spice Bush - 06)  This is a large cluster of spice bush flowers.





(Spice Bush - 06a)  This is another bee's eye view of some of the tiny spice bush flowers.  The seemingly infinite detail and beauty in God's creation fills us with a sense of wonderment.





(Spice Bush - 07)  This is another cluster of spice bush flowers that are growing on a branch.





(Spice Bush - 08)  The spice bush has been referred to as an "understory" plant, which means that this bush usually grows under other larger bushes and trees.  We're not sure whether this is because the spice bush rarely grows to heights over 6 feet, and it gets overshadowed by other plants, or that the spice bush will not grow in full sunlight.



(Spice Bush - 08a)  This is a side view of one of the spice bush flowers.






(Spice Bush - 08b)  This is another side view of some of the spice bush tiny flowers.  What appears to be only one small flower growing on the branch of the spice bush, is really a cluster of many tiny flowers.





(Spice Bush - 09)  This is another cluster of spice bush flowers.  One of our references says that these flowers attract birds, which we have not be able to confirm with our own observations.




(Spice Bush - 09a)  This is another close up view of some the tiny spice bush flowers.






(Spice Bush - 09b)  This is another close up side view of some of the tiny spice bush flowers.






(Spice Bush - 10)  Unlike trees that usually have only one trunk, bushes, such as the spice bush, usually have more than one trunk.  The simple pointed oval shaped leaves of the spice bush usually grow to lengths of 3 to 5 inches.  The clusters of three toothed leaves in the lower right of the photo are on a wild raspberry.



(Spice Bush - 10a)  The entire spice bush branch in the foreground is new growth, which can easily be identified by its green color, as compared to the nearly black color of the older branched and trunks.  The leaves grow alternately along the branch.  This branch is still growing, as can be seen by the new sprouting leaves on the end of the branch.





(Spice Bush - 10b)  This is an end view of a new-growth spice bush branch.  The spice bush is an important host plant for butterflies of the swallowtail family, particularly the spicebush swallowtail and the eastern tiger swallowtail.





(Spice Bush - 11)  This is a young spice bush which has several trunks and very few branches.  From the greenish ends on the trunks, we can distinguish the new growth areas.  White-tailed deer often browse on the leaves and new growth twigs of the spice bush.




(Spice Bush - 12)  The end of this spice bush branch is not developing new terminal growth, because the end of the branch has been broken or been bitten off by a browsing deer. However, new growth does seem to be developing from the node at the end of the broken branch.




(Spice Bush - 13)  We took this photo of the spice bush with a lighted background to highlight some of the flower details, such as the semi-transparent bulb at the end of the stamens.





(Spice Bush - 13a)  In this close up photo of the spice bush flowers, we have a better look at the semi-transparent bulb structures we referred to in the previous photo.




(Spice Bush - 14)  This is another cluster of spice bush flowers.






(Spice Bush - 15)  This is another look at the clusters of spice bush flowers.





(Spice Bush - 15a)  This is a bee's eye view of one of the tiny spice bush flowers.






(Spice Bush - 16)  This is another spice bush flower cluster, and a sprouting leaf.





(Spice Bush - 16a)  This is another bee's eye view of a tiny spice bush flower which clearly shows the semi-transparent nature of many of its components.  When we realize that the actual size of this flower is only 1/8 of an inch, we marvel at God intricately detailed creation.




(Spice Bush - 17)  This is another look at a spice bush flower cluster.






(Spice Bush - 18)  And more clusters of spice bush flowers...






(Spice Bush - 19)  In the Fall of the year, the spice bush leaves change from green to a bright yellow, as this bush is doing.





(Spice Bush - 20)  This is another look at a cluster of spicebush flowers.  The flowers have a delicate perfume, which is in sharp contract to the strong spicy odor of the crushed leaves.




(Spice Bush - 20a)  In this bee's eye look at a single 1/8 inch diameter spice bush flower, we can see the six petals and six stamens projecting out over the petals.






(Spice Bush - 21)  This cluster of spice bush flowers is just beginning to open.





(Spice Bush - 21a)  This is a closer look at the cluster of newly opening spice bush flowers.







(Spice Bush - 22)  From the buds on this spicebush, and the lack of foliage, it is easy to see the low spreading nature of some spice bushes, which we believe is due to competition from other plants growing around it.  Where there is not this competition for space, the spicebush is much more upright.




(Spice Bush - 23)  This is another look at this early spring spreading spicebush.





(Spice Bush - 23a)  This is a closer look at the way this spicebush's numerous branches spread out from the main stalk or trunk.  This is particularly evident in the lower part of the photo.






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Presented here are just a few of the countless components of God's creation.  Just as we cannot have human and animal life without water and plants, neither can we have lasting peace without love and compassion.  It is our hope and prayer that this series will motivate people to live and act in a cruelty-free manner; that we would no longer hurt or destroy each other, the animals or our environment.

Photos by Frank L. Hoffman unless otherwise noted.
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