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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 3 | Lauraceae | Lindera

2. Lindera benzoin (Linnaeus) Blume, Mus. Bot. 1: 324. 1851.

Spicebush, Benjamin bush

Laurus benzoin Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 370. 1753; Benzoin aestivale (Linnaeus) Nees; Lindera benzoin var. pubescens (Palmer & Steyermark) Rehder

Shrubs or small trees , to 5 m. Young twigs glabrous or sparsely pubescent. Leaves horizontal to ascending, strongly aromatic (spicy) throughout growing season; petiole ca. 10 mm, glabrous or pubescent. Leaf blade obovate, smaller blades generally elliptic, (4-)6-15 × 2-6 cm, membranous, base cuneate, margins ciliate, apex rounded to acuminate on larger leaves; surfaces abaxially glabrous to densely pubescent, adaxially glabrous except for a few hairs along midrib. Drupe oblong, ca. 10 mm; fruiting pedicels of previous season not persistent on stem, slender, 3-5 mm, apex not conspicuously enlarged. 2 n = 24.

Flowering spring. Stream banks, low woods, margins of wetlands; uplands, especially with exposed limestone; 0-1200 m; Ont.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Miss., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., W.Va.

The flowers of Lindera benzoin have an unusually sweet fragrance.

Among the Cherokee, Creek, Iroquois, and Rappahannock tribes, Lindera benzoin was used for various medicinal purposes (D. E. Moerman 1986).


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