Dan Hinkley is a big fan of the handsome shrub called red-fruit spice bush (Lindera erythrocarpa). In his book The Explorer’s Garden Shrubs and Vines, he has this to say: "Female specimens offer startling crops of red fruit, even more so in autumn when set against blazing yellow leaves - an effect unparalleled by any other deciduous shrub. Dark purplish-brown stems rise to 4.6 m/15 ft cloaked by greenish yellow flowers in late winter, followed by long lance-shaped leaves."
We are waiting for this to happen. But our red-fruit spice bush has just about disappeared. You can walk by Lindera erythrocarpa on the trail through bed 74 and never notice it. The trees and other plants nearby have grown so much that you only see bits of this fine shrub. You have to get off the trail and look for a space to appreciate it.
This native of Japan, Korea, and China was planted in 1993. It flourishes in sun or partial shade. Our one and only Lindera erythrocarpa in VanDusen would be very pleased if some of the other shrubs and trees that have grown too tall and brush against it were removed. Then it could stretch out and breathe again and show off its long lance-shaped leaves.
VanDusen’s Lindera erythrocarpa came from Chollipo Arboretum as seed in 1993. The seed was wild-collected at Mt. Daedun near Wanju-gun in South Korea. The flowering tree and the sign photos were taken in April 2021. Red-fruit spice bush still had room to grow then with lots more light and sun. The other pictures are from September 2023.
Text and photos by Hughie Jones