Sassafras albidumSassafras albidum

  • BOTANICAL NAME: Sassafras albidum
  • PRONUNCIATION: SAS-a-fras AL-bi-dum
  • COMMON NAME: Sassafras
  • FAMILY: Lauraceae
  • NATIVITY: Southern Ontario, eastern U.S. to Midwest.
  • GROWTH HABIT: Shrubby, irregular, forming a colonizing thicket, usually taprooted; 30'-60' x 25'-40' branching gives winter interest.
  • HARDINESS: Zone 4-8
  • CULTURE: Moist, acid, sandy loam in full sun to partial shade. Grows naturally as an understory tree and on the edge of woodlands.
  • LANDSCAPE USE: An excellent native plant for good fall color and winter silhouette. A bird-attracting tree. Not often cultivated and difficult to transplant.
  • FOLIAGE: Alternate, simple, 3"-7" long, entire or 1-3 lobes, in various shapes; when crushed, produces a spicy fragrance. Bright-green in summer, good yellow, orange to red fall color. Dioecious, flowers yellow, fragrant, 1"-2", before the leaves.
  • BUDS: Ovoid, 1/3" long; green, tinged with red.
  • BARK: Twigs are bright yellow-green. Bark is dark red-brown, forms corky ridges. Has a spicy fragrance when scraped.
  • FRUIT: Dark-blue drupe, ½" long, with red recepticle.
  • PROPAGATION: Seed, root cuttings.
  • PESTS: Japanese beetles; mostly pest free.


University of Delaware

University of Delaware Botanic GardensNewark, DE 19716Phone: 302 831-0153