14. Spicebush

As you walk along Hop Brook, keep an eye out for Spicebush (Lindera benzoin). This large fragrant shrub blooms early in the spring, the female plants produce lovely red berries, and the leaves turn a brilliant yellow come fall. In addition to being a lovely ornamental, spicebush is a valuable ecological host plant. Its foliage feeds the caterpillars of Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies and Promethea Silk Moths, and the berries attract more than 16 bird species. It can tolerate a wide range of lighting and moisture conditions but thrives in wet areas, making it useful for erosion mitigation. The aromatic berries, twigs, and leaves are edible and are used by Indigenous tribes for teas and spice rubs.