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May 6, 2020 2:11 PM CST
Name: Empress of India
Hatfield MA (Zone 5b)
Anyone know what this is?

It was labeled spicebush in the fall, leafless, but I don't think it's a spicebush. I have a positively identified spicebush right next to it, and while there are similarities, the lemony smell never occurs at all on this plant in the photo.

At the base of the plant, there is what almost looks like a graft. Here's where it gets weirder: below the graft there are some leaves. *Those* leaves do smell like spicebush.

Any idea what the heck this is or what circumstances might have led to its existence? I know the spicebush smell--it's unmistakable. This thing does not have it. (Edited to note--it's maybe four feet tall.)

Thumb of 2020-05-06/EmpressOfIndia/bba4fb
For a time. I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Barry
Last edited by EmpressOfIndia May 6, 2020 2:13 PM Icon for preview
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May 6, 2020 3:00 PM CST
Perthshire. SCOTLAND. UK
Garden Photography Region: United Kingdom Plant Identifier
Lindera sp...there are many different sp.

Would like to see the shape of the leaves as they open.

https://www.google.com/search?...
Last edited by Silversurfer May 6, 2020 3:51 PM Icon for preview
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May 6, 2020 4:02 PM CST
Name: Empress of India
Hatfield MA (Zone 5b)
There is zero smell though...I mean literally none.

I'm eager for the leaves to fan out so maybe I can get an ID but this has been plaguing me since October or whenever I planted it, because the smell wasn't right. Most of what I've read is that if it doesn't smell like a spicebush, it's not a spicebush....

It's driving me nuts.

...and in searches, the flowers on spicebush look sort of frilly. On this thing, whatever it is, it appears to have five distinct petals.
For a time. I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Barry
Last edited by EmpressOfIndia May 6, 2020 4:03 PM Icon for preview
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May 6, 2020 4:51 PM CST
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Region: Ukraine Region: Florida Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Definitely Lindera species, likely Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) The leaves should be fragrant.
~ I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!
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May 7, 2020 6:09 AM CST
Name: Empress of India
Hatfield MA (Zone 5b)
plantladylin said:Definitely Lindera species, likely Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) The leaves should be fragrant.


They are definitely not fragrant though--at all. And the bush sitting next to it, which I am certain is a spicebush, does.

This thing looks like a spicebush, was sold as a spicebush, but has no smell.

It's bewildering.
For a time. I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Barry
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May 21, 2020 3:45 PM CST
Name: Empress of India
Hatfield MA (Zone 5b)
plantladylin said:Definitely Lindera species, likely Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) The leaves should be fragrant.


Oh thank God...I don't know why but all of a sudden the leaves on the pseudo-spicebush started smelling like the spicebush next to it. I don't know if it's because I bought it when it was dormant last fall, or transplant shock interfered with enzyme/chemical/whatever-makes-it-smell-like-that production....but it's definitely Lindera Benzoin and it has stopped making me insane by not smelling like anything at all.

For anyone who hasn't experienced it: it's not a subtle fragrance. It's like Lemon Pledge. Or at least, my memory of Lemon Pledge.
For a time. I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Barry
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May 22, 2020 3:29 AM CST
Perthshire. SCOTLAND. UK
Garden Photography Region: United Kingdom Plant Identifier
Glad that mystery has been resolved to your satisfaction.
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