Deciduous, North American flowering shrub
Description: Bears delicate umbels of tiny, greenish-yellow, star-shaped flowers in early spring, followed by oval-shaped red berries on female plants; aromatic, bright green leaves turn yellow in autumn
Habit: Roundish shrub grows 10-12 ft high and wide
Culture: Prefers full sun to part shade and humus-rich soil; occurs in woodlands and along riverbanks
Origin: Eastern United States
Attributes: Attracts Birds and Butterflies, Fall Color, Ornamental Fruit, Rain Garden, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Good for Heavy Shade
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 through 9
The catalogues of both John Bartram (1783) and Bernard McMahon (1803) refer to this eastern North American species as "Laurus Benzoin," the "Benjamin Tree or Spice Wood." On January 17, 1786, while in Paris, Jefferson ordered seeds of "Laurus Benzoin" from John Bartram, Jr. to be sent "for a friend here whom I wish much to oblige." On August 12, 1786, Jefferson wrote to Richard Cary, again requesting "Laurus Benzoin" seeds among many other American native trees and shrubs. In his list of native flora in Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson called it the "Wild pimento." The seeds are food for wildlife and the aromatic branches were once used for cleaning teeth.
This species is dioecious, meaning a male and a female plant are both required for pollination and fruit set. Our plants are unsexed due to their immaturity; we recommend purchasing more than one plant to increase the likelihood of fruit production, including berries and seeds.
This plant will ship bare root. Approximately 18" tall.
Bare root planting tips:
~ If you can't plant immediately, store your plant in a cool location and keep the roots moist or pot in a container with a nursery potting mix from your local garden center.
~ Before planting, let the roots soak for several hours as you prepare the site. You'll want to dig a large enough hole so the root mass can spread out and the plant is at the same soil level as when it was growing in the nursery.
~ Once planted, water it in well and wait a month before fertilizing. Mulching will help to maintain moisture and raise soil temperatures for faster growth.