Lindera melissifolia

Common Names:
pondberry, Southern spicebush, swamp spicebush
(Walt.) Blume
Growth Habit:
Tree, Shrub
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Missouri Botanical Garden
Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens

The conservation of Lindera melissifolia is fully sponsored.
Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.


Pondberry is a pretty, medium sized shrub described by Steyermark (1963) as one of the rarest shrubs in the U.S. The plant flowers in early spring, before leafing out, and produces beautiful bright red fruits in late summer. Pondberry leaves are aromatic and have a strong lemon-sassafras aroma when crushed. This species is dioecious, meaning individual plants produce only male or only female flowers. However, once a male does not mean always a male. One plant growing at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) apparently has changed sexes! After many years of producing only male flowers, the pondberry at MBG produced fruit! Botanists speculate that in the year the plant made the switch, some branches produced male flowers and some branches produced female flowers--hence the ability to produce fruit. Since that time, the plant has produced only female flowers.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research