General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 30 to 50 feet
Plant Spread: 30 to 50 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Unusual foliage color
Deciduous
Fragrant
Fruit: Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Blooms on old wood
Other: a little bit showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Other: Chartreuse
Flower Time: Spring
Late spring or early summer
Underground structures: Taproot
Uses: Dye production
Shade Tree
Culinary Herb
Medicinal Herb
Will Naturalize
Useful for timber production
Edible Parts: Leaves
Roots
Fruit
Eating Methods: Tea
Culinary Herb/Spice
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Butterflies
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: moist cold strat for 3 months
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Root
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Dioecious
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
Image
Common names
  • Sassafras
  • Saxifras
  • Tea Tree
  • Mitten Tree
  • Cinnamonwood

Photo Gallery
Location: Neighboring Farm
Date: October 14, 2014
Brilliant Color Ahead Of Other Species
Location: My Neighborhood
Date: October 13, 2014
Autumn Leaves Are Very Colorful
Location: Hidden Lake Gardens, Michigan
Date: 2013-10-09
Trace of a face.  I see an owl's face in the rough bark of this s
Location: my garden in Dawsonville, GA
Date: 2021-10-29
muted autumn colors this year
Location: St Louis - MoBOT
Location: my garden zone 5 Indiana
Date: 2020-10-09
Location: Fairfax, VA | June, 2022
Date: 2022-06-03
Photo by TBGDN
Location: Aberdeen, NC Pages Lake park (NW)
Date: 2023-03-17
Sassafras #21; RAB 84-2-; LHB p.422, "Name from Saxifrage due to
Location: Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton, Michigan
Date: 2012-10-04
Left to their own devices, sassafras trees can develop quite wond
Location: Northeastern, Texas
Date: 2016-04-11
Location: Nichols Arboretum, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Date: 2014-05-10
A horrific wound for any tree to survive, but this sassafras some
Location: Aberdeen, NC Pages Lake park
Date: April 4, 2023
Sassafras #21; RAB 84-2-; LHB p.422, "Name from Saxifrage due to
Location: Aberdeen, NC Pages Lake park (NW)
Date: 2023-03-17
Sassafras #21; RAB 84-2-; LHB p.422, "Name from Saxifrage due to
Location: Aberdeen, NC Pages Lake park (NW)
Date: 2023-03-17
Sassafras #21; RAB 84-2-; LHB p.422, "Name from Saxifrage due to
Location: Aberdeen, NC
Date: September 27, 2021
Sassafras #21; RAB 84-2-; LHB p.422, "Name from Saxifrage due to
Location: North Carolina Botanical Gardens Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Date: February 28, 2023
Sassafras #21; RAB 84-2-; LHB p.422, "Name from Saxifrage due to
Location: Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton, Michigan
Date: 2019-10-15
Time can heal.  Comparison of bird pecked holes in a sassafras tr
Photo by TBGDN
Location: Hidden Lake Gardens, Michigan
Date: 2015-05-14
Sassafras albidum blooms - Golden anthers accent lemon yellow flo
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2019-10-15
a few full-grown trees showing fall color
Location: Miami County, Indiana
Date: October 14, 2014
A Single Leaf
Location: Northeastern Indiana - Natural Environment
Date: Sep 26, 2011 12:03 PM
Early Fall Coloration
Location: Miami County, Indiana
Date: September 24, 2013
Close Up View
Location: St Louis - MoBOT
Location: Kensington Metro Park, Milford, Michigan
Date: 2019-10-18
Sassafras leaves come in a variety of shapes.  Most of the ones h
Location: Hidden Lake Gardens, Michigan
Date: 2015-05-14
Sassafras albidum in bloom, before the leaves emerge
Location: Blinky Lee Land Preserve near Kimberton, PA
Date: 2015-08-15
mature tree in summer
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-04-06
yellow flowers
Location: near West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2009-10-14
several trees in autumn color
Location: Lima, Pennsylvania
Date: 2012-10-24
maturing tree in fall color
Location: Elberfeld, Indiana
Date: 2016-08-09
Location: Fulton Country, Indiana
Date: October 14, 2014
A Young Tree With Brilliant Foliage
Location: Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton, Michigan
Date: 2019-10-15
A sassafras bud in autumn.  Love the cherry red stems on the leav

Date: c. 1773
illustration by Georges Ehret from Trew's 'Plantæ selectæ', 177
Location: Miami County, Indiana
Date: September 24, 2013
Close Up View
Location: Tarlton
Date: 2018-06-07
Location: Botanischer Garten Berlin
Date: 2023-05-11
Location: Botanischer Garten Berlin
Date: 2023-05-11
Location: Botanischer Garten Berlin
Date: 2023-05-11
Location: northern Delaware
Date: 2020-04-29
yellow flower clusters
Location: Aberdeen, NC Pages Lake park (NW)
Date: March 17, 2023
Sassafras #21; RAB 84-2-; LHB p.422, "Name from Saxifrage due to
Location: Hiking Trail In Fairfax :-)
Location: Hidden Lake Gardens, Michigan
Date: 2015-05-14
Sassafras albidum - As far as I can tell, bracts enclose both lea
Location: Hidden Lake Gardens, Michigan
Date: 2015-05-14
Sassafras albidum - New leaves and bloom buds

Date: c. 1865
illustration by Bessa from Michaux's 'The North American Sylva',
Location: Tarlton
Date: 2018-05-27
Location: Tarlton
Date: 2018-05-27
Sapling
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-06-13
tree in cemetery
Location: Yellow Springs, Pennsylvania
Date: 2012-09-07
a wild maturing mass
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-06-13
summer leaves
Location: Valley Forge Park near Norristown, PA
Date: 2014-01-30
full-grown tree in winter
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2008-10-15
maturing tree in yard in fall color
Location: near West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-10-19
larger trees mostly in fall color
Location: Elberfeld, Indiana
Date: 2016-08-09
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2014-10-16
autumn leaves red
Location: Elberfeld, Indiana
Date: 2016-08-09
Location: my garden zone 5 Indiana
Date: 2020-10-09
Location: Natural Area in Northeastern Indiana
Date: 2011-10-04
A small Sassafras albidum colony displaying twisted trunks.

Date: 2002-09-07
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/

Date: 2002-05-25
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/
Location: Tennessee
Date: 2002-06-06
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/
Location: Jacksonville, TX
Date: 2014-03-24
Location: garden of botanist Robert R. Kowal in Madison, Wisconsin
Date: April 22, 2012
photo by James Steakley
Location: stamford CT
Date: 2012-10-20
early september
Location: Natural Area in Northeastern Indiana
Date: 2012-03-23
Bud cluster
Location: Botanischer Garten Berlin
Date: 2023-05-11

Date: 2014-03-24
  • Uploaded by jon
Photo by dave
Location: Savannah, Georgia, USA
Date: 2013-03-24
New spring growth on Sassafras sapling, part of a clonal colony.
Photo by dave
Location: Jacksonville, TX
Date: April 5, 2011
Location: Jacksonville, TX
Date: April 5, 2011
Location: Natural Area in Northeastern Indiana - Zone 5b
Date: 2012-03-29
Male bloom cluster - female cluster is smaller; about half the si
Location: Natural Area in Northeastern Indiana - Zone 5b
Date: 2012-03-29
Male

USDA
Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Date: 2015-06-19
mature planted tree
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-04-06
tree in yellow bloom
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2010-01-14
multi-trunks and bark
Location: Aberdeen, NC Pages Lake park (NW)
Date: June 9, 2023
Sassafras #21; RAB 84-2-; LHB p.422, "Name from Saxifrage due to
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2014-10-16
mature tree in red fall color
Location: Fairfax, VA | June, 2022
Date: 2022-06-03
Location: Natural Area in Northeastern Indiana
Date: 2011-10-04
Location: My yard in Arlington, Texas.
Date: 2012-11-25
My little Sassafras tree in fall colors.

Date: 2006-04-06
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/

Date: 2006-04-06
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/
Location: Northeastern Indiana - Natural Environment
Date: Sep 26, 2011 3:46 PM
Young Tree

Date: 2002-04-15
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/

Date: 2002-10-14
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/
Location: Tennessee
Date: 2002-10-18
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/
Location: Tennessee
Date: 2002-05-25
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/
Location: Tennessee
Date: 2006-04-09
Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/
Location: northern Delaware
Date: 2020-04-29
upper trees in bloom
Location: Aberdeen, NC Pages Lake park (NW)
Sassafras #21; RAB 84-2-; LHB p.422, "Name from Saxifrage due to
Location: Natural Area in Northeastern Indiana - Zone 5b
Date: 2012-03-29
Female
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Comments:
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 20, 2018 8:44 PM concerning plant:
    The Common Sassafras is a beautiful small to medium tree of the Laurel Family. It grows in open woods or woodland edges or in open fields in upland sites from New England down to central Florida over into eastern Texas & Oklahoma, most of Missouri, through central Illinois, through all Indiana up into most of lower Michigan into the southern tip of Ontario. It grows about 1.5 to 2 feet/year and lives up to about 100 years. It develops a taproot and coarse lateral roots, so it is not easy to transplant. I did transplant a few young trees about 3 feet high volunteering for Tyler Arboretum one early spring, carefully making nice rounded soil balls. Sometimes Sassafras can develop a colony from ground suckers, but many times it does not. It gets bright red fall color in full sun, but can turn yellow or orange in some shade. The female trees bear some dark blue-purple berries in August-September and are eaten by birds. A few larger, diverse nurseries sell some and some native plant nurseries sell some for naturalistic landscapes. I don't see it planted by homeowners hardly at all, though there are two planted in a yard a few blocks away from me. Some landscape designers use it in professional landscapes or in parks. I think it should be planted in landscapes more often.
  • Posted by Sharon (Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Nov 16, 2011 11:21 PM concerning plant:
    The sassafras tree is a native of eastern North America. It's an aromatic deciduous tree growing to around 40 feet. It has a rough gray bark; its bright green alternate leaves are oval with one to three lobes. It flowers around May, greenish yellow flowers that appear before the leaves. They are followed by pea sized fruits.

    Historically it was used by Native Americans for a wide range of ailments; the bark of its roots was used in various ways to treat fevers and rheumatism; as a tonic it was thought to cleanse the blood of impurities. An oil extracted from the tree was in use as an antiseptic in dentistry and as a flavoring in toothpastes, root beer, and early in the 1870's sassafrass and licorice were used by Thomas Adams as flavoring for Adams chewing gum. It continued to be used as flavoring until the 1960's when the Food and Drug Administration declared that safrole, a chemical compound in the oil of the root bark, was a carcinogen.

    In the '90's safrole was removed from the oil and the FDA allowed it to again be used for flavoring. However, it is not recommended as a home remedy.
  • Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Nov 26, 2012 12:26 PM concerning plant:
    Sassafras are most often seen as an understory shrub beneath larger trees such as Virginia Pine, Eastern White Pine, Sweetgum, Yellow Poplar, or oaks. They often grow alongside Black Cherry, American Beech, American Hornbeam, Eastern Red Cedar, as well as others.

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Sassafras in autumn by arctangent Oct 14, 2019 9:29 AM 1

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