Sassafras albidum Lauraceae

Growth habit


Native distribution

Native to the Finger Lakes Region, MA to SC and TN


Mundy Wildflower Garden, Conifer Slope, Bald Hill and Caroline Pinnacles, Coy Glen, Fischer Old-growth Forest, South Hill Swamp

Source of plant

Avant Gardens, Woodlanders Inc., Forestfarm Nursery, Woodlanders Inc., Ruth Nix


Tree, 30' to 60' tall, 25' to 40' wide; can grow larger. Pyramidal, irregular tree or shrub in youth, with many, short, stout, contorted branches, which spread to form a flat-topped, irregular, round-oblong head at maturity; often sprouting from the roots and forming extensive thickets. Bark dark reddish-brown,deeply ridged and furrowed, forming corky ridges that are easily cut across with a knife; bark almostmahogany-brown, handsome when mature. Foliage bright to medium green, changing to tones of yellow to deep orange to scarlet and purple in fall; one of our most outstanding native trees for fall color. Flowers usually dioecious, yellow, fragrant, developing before the leaves in April, borne in terminal racemes, 1" to 2" long, apetalous, calyx about 3/8" long and wide, with 6 narrowly oblong lobes, 9 stamens in male, and 6 aborted in the female; flowers are actually quite handsome and can be readily distinguished in the spring landscape.

USDA Hardiness Zone


Special characteristics

foliage characteristics, fall color, fragrance, bark, medicinal/pharmaceutical