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Sassafras albidum

Pronunciation: Sass-uh-frass al-bi-dum
Family: Lauraceae (laurel family)
Common Name: Sassafras
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 20-80'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -20 to -30ºF ZONE 4
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • early spring
Bloom Description: The flowers open before the leaves in early spring. They are small and greenish yellow, and give way to fleshy dark blue drupes about a 0. 5 in (1. 3 cm) in diameter. In autumn the leaves turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. All parts of sassafras are aromatic, smelling like root beer.
Soil Type: Easy to grow in dry, sandy soils
Plant Perks:
  • Medicinal
  • Fragrant
  • Fall Foliage
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Attracts Hummingbirds
  • Attracts Butterflies
Propagation: Propagated from seeds which should be sown in fall and allowed to overwinter outdoors. Sassafras, with the help of obliging birds, seeds itself prolifically. It is difficult to transplant sassafras since it has a very long tap root.
Native to: Sassafras occurs from sw maine to iowa and se kansas, southward to texas and central florida. It grows in mesic hardwood forests, dry open woods, fence rows, abandoned fields, and disturbed areas. Sassafras has been cultivated in europe for medicinal and flavoring uses since the spaniards brought it from florida in the 1500's.
Notes for Identification: Ource: floridata - sassafras is a good small tree for the natural woodland or native plant landscape. It naturalizes readily. There's a constant supply of seedlings in my yard, and i pull those that have the impertinence to grow in the wrong place, and let others stay until they get too big to suit me. Sassafras grows fast. In a good, sunny spot, sassafras can grow 4 ft (1. 2 m) tall the first year and 15 ft (4. 6 m) in four years.  the flowers, which are among the earliest in spring, are very popular with honey bees and other insects. Songbirds devour the fruits as fast as they ripen. Sassafras (along with other members of the laurel family) is the host plant for the spicebush swallowtail butterfly. Sassafras foliage brightens the landscape with yellows, oranges and reds in autumn, and the winter silhouette is appealing with its horizontal branches in tiered layers.  
Located in: Trees, Shrubs
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