Sassafras Tree

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Sassafras Tree is used for medicinal purposes and grows naturally in the woods and open fields

The sassafras is native to North America and East Asia. A mature sassafras tree can reach between 20 to 60 feet in height or more and 25 to 40 feet in width. Regarding soil requirements, the sassafras tree can grow in various soils. However, it grows best in acidic soil that is sandy and well-drained. The sassafras tree can grow in hardiness zones 4 to 9 and is considered resistant to drought.

The growth rate is considered medium to fast-growing, with trees growing between 13 inches to 24 inches within a year. Some plants have grown over 15 feet in 4 years. In terms of lighting requirements, the sassafras tree grows best in full sun to partial shade, with at least 4 hours of direct sunlight. The sassafras tree can survive over 1,000 years in the wild with the ideal growing environment.

 In the spring, the sassafras tree blooms with clusters of yellow flowers. These yellow flowers are 1 to 2 inches long and can be up to a half-inch in diameter. After a few days, the flowers are replaced by bright green leaves. At full maturity, the leaves can grow 3 to 7 inches long. A sassafras tree produces three types of leaves simultaneously. It produces oval-shaped leaves, three-lobe leaves, as well as mitten-shaped leaves.

It should be noted that the mitten-shaped leaves can be either left or right-handed. The edges of the leaves are smooth. The leaves turn a spectrum of colors in the fall, including yellow, orange, scarlet, and sometimes purple. It also may acquire half-inch dark blue fruit in the fall. The whole leaves form a light-blocking canopy. The bark of the sassafras tree is green and smooth when it is young and may become more orange or brown as it ages. It’s important to note that the plant can be trained as a single trunk tree or a bushy thicket. When it is young, the sassafras tree generally has the appearance of a shrub, with a central trunk and smaller saplings surrounding it. As the tree matures, it will form a defined tree shape with one distinct trunk. The tree forms wide, with a flat top. 

You should also note that sassafras trees are also known for their fragrant smell, similar to root beer. While this odor is mild in the spring when the flowers bloom, it becomes more prominent throughout summer. Regarding landscaping uses, sassafras can be considered ornamental trees and shade trees. On the ornamental side, sassafras trees are commonly used for their spectrum of fall colors and unique appearance. They are also frequently used for the aroma they introduce to a garden or yard area. The sassafras tree can also be used as a shade tree in a backyard.

However, it should be planted 20 feet away from houses and buildings, as the tree tends to grow wide and tall if trained to grow as a single trunk tree. These backyard trees are commonly used for shade and placed near entertainment or outdoor seating areas. In addition, sassafras trees are often planted to attract wildlife. Animals such as deer enjoy eating the leaves and branches of the tree. Birds such as turkeys, quail, woodpeckers, and squirrels are attracted to the fruit of the plant in the fall. Rabbits also enjoy the bark of the tree. Sassafras trees are also commonly used in parks or public areas for their shade.                                                       

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The Sassafras, formally known as Sassafras albidum, come from North America and East Asia as a native. This tree can grow conveniently in vast forests or fields and open areas due to its full-blown canopy. A well-kept and acidic, drained soil is the best habitat for sassafras trees, but it can grow in almost all types of soils, including sandy. Springs yield the best outcomes from the sassafras tree harvests. These deciduous trees can grow their heights up to 60 feet or more at maturity, while their widths are close to 40 feet. They have been recorded to grow 15 feet within four years.

With its growth occurring in 4 - 9 zones of hardiness, the Sassafras trees are known to be drought-resistant. They can grow 13 to 24 inches annually, so Sassafras is also considered one of the fast-growing categories of trees. In terms of their resiliency & survival, these trees only require four or more hours of partial to full sun. Direct rays or part shade from the sun and the ideal wild habitats can make the sassafras trees live for more than 1,000 years. 

The Sassafras trees are well-known for their spring blooms of drooping yellow flowers. These loose flowers precede the appearance of leaves and have 5 to 6 petals. After transforming from the flowers, the bright green leaves mature and grow for as long as 3 to 7 inches. The smooth-edged Sassafras tree leaves have three types; oval-shaped leaves, three-lobed leaves, and mitten-shaped leaves. In the fall, these leaves show different fall colors. The bluish-black fruits of Sassafras trees ripe during the late summers and are called 'Drupes' or 'Stone Fruits.' 

The leaves collectively form a canopy that can block the sunlight from passing. The mature Sassafras tree canopy is how the tree takes on a flat and wide-topped appearance. Depending upon the training, the plant can be fashioned into a solitary tree - a bushy thicket. The Sassafras is initially a shrub-like plant with a bundle of small saplings in its surroundings and a trunk. The age of the sassafras tree can be calculated from the color of its bark, respectively.


Apart from its woods being used to start fires, the Sassafras trees' woods are also used in making furniture. The sassafras leaves are a common ingredient in various cooking and medicinal purposes involving the skin, fever, and localized wounds; The bark is a source of Dye, Flavor, and Safrole. Safrole is the source of aromatic uses and medicinal drugs all over the United States. The infamous Filé Powder, which originated from the leaves of Sassafras, is an ingredient for 'gumbo' - a traditional dish of Louisiana Creole. The sassafras trees are also used in the making of homemade root beer.

Best Time to Harvest: In the spring

Sun Exposure: Full to Partial shade

Water Requirement: Moderate hydration

Soil: Well-drained, moist, and acidic

Hardiness Zone: 4 – 9

Height at Maturity: 20 – 60 feet or more

Ship As: Bareroot

The aroma of the North American sassafras tree has been the main reason for this tree's demand as an ornament and landscape décor. These are the perfect shade trees with a ring of the colors of fall, summer, and spring. The colors, the root beer-like smell, the wildlife attraction, and the shade can transform any backyard or garden into a comfortable spot. Animals like deer, rabbits, butterflies, turkeys, squirrels, etc., visiting the garden is a bonus if there is a sassafras tree around.

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 Sassafras - Sassafras albidum 

 Sassafras, otherwise known as Sassafras albidum, is a deciduous member of the tree family with native roots encompassing the range of Eastern North America. Are you considering a moderately simple plant to maintain? Its hardiness has been easy to grow in average well-drained soil. A suitable choice for gardeners with sizeable garden space, sassafras blooms April through May and thrive in full sun or part shade conditions offered by optimal growing zones 4 to 9. These are zones recommended for species of plants that demonstrate compatible growing environments as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture. Sassafras albidum reaches a height that averages 30 to 60 feet tall at full maturity and is rated as moderately sensitive to water levels and pruning. 

 Also a flowering tree, the sassafras form a canopy of broad, large, true-green leaves with a medium-pigmentated deep hue and pale white veining apparent. The surface area and outline of the leaves change shape as the leaves reach maturity, forming spade-like patterns and variations of such. The blooms are delicate and hypnotic to insects. The flower structure is of compound organization with six pale yellow translucent petals and subtle veining.

The center contains darker yellow pigment apparent within the nine stamens possessed by the male flower and the centered pistil of the female. The natural habitat is fields, open woods, and along fences- sassafras flourishes in environments similar to such. It prefers moist, well-drained soils or sandy loam soils but is tolerant of various soil conditions. Depending on the rainfall, sassafras reportedly shed leaves in response to climate change. The leaves, bark, twigs, stems, and fruits are consumed and utilized by birds, mammals, and insects—the sassafras compliments a naturalized garden atmosphere or habitat, offering room to grow and space to thrive.


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Additional Information

Planting Zones 4-9
$9.99 -Ships Fall
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