General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
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
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
Eating Methods: Tea
Culinary Herb/Spice
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: moist cold strat for 3 months
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Root
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

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

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  • 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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Discussion Threads about this plant
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Sassafras in autumn by arctangent Oct 14, 2019 9:29 AM 1

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