Shrubs (some Asiatic species trees), with alternate entire pinnately veined and in our species deciduous leaves, and dioecious or polygamous yellow flowers, in lateral sessile invo-lucrate clusters unfolding before the leaves, the involucre of 4 deciduous scales. Calyx-segments 6, equal, deciduous. Staminate flowers with 3 series of 3 stamens, the filaments of the inner series lobed and gland-bearing at the base, those of the 2 outer series glandless; anthers all introrse, 2-celled, 2-valved. Pistillate flowers with 12-18 staminodia and a globose ovary. Fruit an obovoid or oblong red drupe. [Named from the Benzoin gum, from its similar fragrance.]

About 7 species, of eastern North America and Asia. Only the following are North American. Type species: Laurus Benzoin L.

Shrub glabrous or nearly so throughout; leaves narrowed at the base.


B. aestivale.

Twigs and lower surfaces of the leaves pubescent; leaves rounded or subcordate at the base.


B. melissaefolium.

I. Benzoin AestivÓle (L.) Nees. Spice-Bush Or-Wood. Benjamin-Bush

Fig. 1971

Laurus aestivalis L. Sp. Pl. 370. 1753. Laurus Benzoin L. Sp. Pl. 370. 1753. Benzoin aestivale Nees, Syst. Laur. 495. 1836. Lindera Benzoin Blume, Mus. Bot. Lugd. 1: 324.

1857. B. Benzoin Coulter, Mem. Torr. Club 5: 164. 1894.

A glabrous or nearly glabrous shrub, 4°-20° high, with smooth bark and slender twigs. Leaves obovate oval or elliptic, 2'-5' long, 1'-2 1/2' wide, acute, short-acuminate or some of them rounded at the apex, narrowed at the base, pale beneath; petioles 3"-6" long; flowers about \\" broad, bright yellow, fragrant; pedicels about equalling the calyx-segments; anthers oval, minutely emarginate at the summit; ovary about as long as the style; drupe 4"-5" long, about 3" in diameter.

In moist woods, thickets and along streams, Maine and New Hampshire to Ontario, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kansas. March-May. Fruit ripe Aug.-Sept. Ascends to 2500 ft. in Virginia. Snap-wood or -weed. Feverbush. Wild allspice. Leaves of young shoots much larger.

I Benzoin Aestiv Le L Nees Spice Bush Or Wood Benj 313I Benzoin Aestiv Le L Nees Spice Bush Or Wood Benj 314

2. Benzoin Melissaef˛lium (Walt.) Nees. Hairy Spice-Bush

Fig. 1972

Laurus melissaefolia Walt. Fl. Car. 134. 1788.

Lindera melissaefolia Blume, Mus. Bot. Lugd. 1: 324. 1857.

Benzoin melissaefolium Nees, Syst. 494. 1836.

A shrub similar to the preceding species but the young twigs, buds and lower surfaces of the leaves densely pubescent. Leaves ovate-lanceolate or oblong, acute or acuminate at the apex, rounded or subcordate at the base, 2-4' long, 9"-18" wide; petioles l" - 3" long; pedicels equalling or slightly longer than the calyx-segments; anthers truncate at the summit; drupe 3"-5" high.

In swamps and wet soil, Illinois and Missouri to North Carolina, south to Alabama and Florida. Jove's-fruit. Feb.-March.