This botanical illustration is the biproduct of a year-long study on Spicebush, propelled by Phipps’ Conservatory programming. The original is framed and on display at their garden center in Mellon park. This listing is for a color print on 9x 12″ paper.
Lindera benzoin (Spicebush) is a small to medium sized aromatic shrub, measuring 8-15 feet in width, 6-15 feet in height with alternately spaced, simple leaves that are oblong in shape and have entire margins up to 5” long. Leaves are initially leathery, dark green but change to vivid yellow, orange and finally red before falling in Autumn. All parts: leaves, flowers, twigs and drupes are an important food source for deer, rabbits and essential for Papilio troilus (Spicebush swallowtail) caterpillar/butterfly as its host plant. Also used as food, medicine, and cleaning agents by the Osage, Shawnee, Iroquois and Ojibwa tribes of North America for thousands of years. By late Summer, as the flowers transform into green and then red berries with a thick waxy, exocarp skin protecting a large, single seed can be sought out as a cherished spice, similar to allspice.
Although the Spicebush loses its leaves late Fall, the lenticels along the bark make it easy to identify and help convert nitrogen from decaying plants on the loamy soil surface into oxygen, allowing the growth of root structure when other, invasive plants would be dormant. It is an excellent plant to focus on for restoring native habitat for an ecosystem in the mid-Atlantic section of the Appalachian mountain range. Throughout Pittsburgh’s Frick Park, trail stewards have been working vigorously to restore the native habitat for this plant and educate the public park users’ to its importance.
100% of the net proceeds from the sale of this item will go to Trail Pittsburgh’s Frick Park stewardship program to support supplies purchasing for understory restoration.