Lindera melissifolia

Species:Lindera melissifolia (Walter) Blume
Common Name:Southern Spicebush; Pondberry; Hairy Spicebush; Jove's Fruit
Associated Ecological Communities:**
Growth Habit:Shrub
Plant Notes:Pondberry is a native deciduous shrub in the Laurel family (Lauraceae). Pondberry was discovered by Samuel Buckley in Wilcox County in 1840 but has not been seen from that county since that time despite numerous searches. In 2004 it was discovered in Covington County. Pondberry occurs in low woods, along the margins of cypress ponds, and in wet depression on the Coastal Plain. It is a colonial shrub rarely more than 3 feet tall. The bark is brown or gray and smooth. Leaves are alternate, petiolate, elliptic to ovate in outline, pubescent on both surfaces, with ciliate margins. The leaves “droop” throughout the growing season and plants appear wilted. The leaves turn bright, clear yellow before falling in the autumn. The leaves are strongly aromatic when crushed with the odor of Sassafras. Flowers are produced in the later winter before the leaves. The flowers are produced in axillary clusters. Staminate and pistillate flowers are produced on different plants. Flower lack petals and have bright yellow tepals. Staminate flowers have 2 whorls of tepals and 9-12 stamens. Pistillate flowers have one whorl of tepals and an inner whorl of nectar producing scales. The fruit is a bright red ellipsoid drupe. Pondberry is listed as a S1 species in Alabama (typically 5 or fewer occurrences, very few remaining individuals, acres, or miles of stream, or some factor of its biology making it especially vulnerable in the state), and globally as a G2G3 species (G2 - Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 - 20 occurrences, or few remaining acres, or miles of stream) or very vulnerable to extinction throughout its range because of other factors. G3 - Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 - 20 occurrences, or few remaining acres, or miles of stream) or very vulnerable to extinction throughout its range because of other factors). It was listed as an Endangered Species by US Fish and Wildlife Service on July 31, 1986.--A. Diamond
Taxonomic Notes:Listed as Federally Endangered as of 31 Jul 1986.
Status:Native, Endangered-US, OBL (NWI), S1 (State Rank), G2G3 (Global Rank)
Specimen: View specimen details in the Alabama Herbarium Consortium Specimen Database

** Not applicable or data not available.


FamilyLAURACEAE - Laurel family
Genus Lindera
Species Lindera melissifolia (Walter) Blume - Southern Spicebush; Pondberry; Hairy Spicebush; Jove's Fruit


Citation Lindera melissifolia (Walter) Blume, Mus. Bot. 1(21): 324. 1851.
Basionym: Laurus melissifolia Walter 1788.
Type: SOUTH CAROLINA: Darlington Co.: 1 mi. NE of Honey Hill, 23 Jul 1961, Williamson 1550 (neotype: USCH). Neotypified by D. B. Ward, J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 1281. 2008.

** Not applicable or data not available.


SynonymFull CitationBasionymType
Benzoin melissifolium Benzoin melissifolium (Walter) Nees von Esenbeck, Syst. Laur. 494. 1836.Laurus melissifolia Walter 1788 
Laurus diospyroides Laurus diospyroides Michaux, Fl. Bor.-Amer. 1: 243. 1803. "Carolina",
Laurus diospyrus Laurus diospyrus Pursh, Fl. Amer. Sept. 276. 1814, nom. illegit.Laurus melissifolia Walter 1788. 
Laurus melissifolia Laurus melissifolia Walter, Fl. Carol. 134. 1788. SOUTH CAROLINA:

Specimens and Distribution

This species has been reported in the following counties by the herbaria listed. An overview of the individual specimens are provided in the table that follows. Click on the accession number to view details; click on column headers to sort; choose a county or herbaria to filter the specimen data.

Counties included on distribution map: Covington, Wilcox

Counties represented by specimen data listed below:

Herbaria represented by specimen data listed below: ALNHS, UNA, UWAL

Range of years during which specimens were collected: -

Barcode / Accession No. County Coll. Date Collector &
Collection No.
Herbarium &
Herbarium Name Used
UWAL0006598 Covington 06 Mar 2008 Barger, T. Wayne
Linderea melissifolia (Walt.) Blume
UNA00029667 Wilcox _ _ 1840 Buckley, S.B.
Lindera melissifolia (Walt.) Blume
ALNHS00001745 Covington 14 Mar 2013 Barger, T. Wayne
Lindera melissifolia (Walt.) Blume
UNA00064010 Covington 06 Aug 2004 Schotz, Alfred
Lindera melissifolia (Walt.) Blume
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