Image for Sassafras


Scientific name

Sassafras albidum


Sassafras is a small tree or large shrub that is deciduous and grows to a height of 5-15 m. Sassafras may also be referred to as White Sassafras, Cinnamon-wood, greenstick, or Mitten-tree. The bark is dark brown in colour and has corky ridges. Sassafras leaves are alternate, bright green above with white undersides, and have 3 variable shapes. All 3 leaf shapes are usually present on the same tree and include oval, mitten-shaped with a thumb shaped lobe, or 3 lobed. The flowers are greenish-yellow in colour, 5-8 mm across, and bloom in late May. The female flowers develop into berries that hang from a red stalk and are bluish-black in colour. All parts of the Sassafras tree have a spicy fragrance when crushed. Sassafras spreads through root suckers and can form dense colonies. The berries are occasionally consumed by several species of songbirds and small mammals.

Planting conditions

Sassafras will grow in dry to moist conditions, but prefers moist, well-drained soils with an acidic pH. It thrives in loamy or sandy soils and will also tolerate clay soils. Sassafras is moderately shade tolerant and grows best in full sun or part shade. Sassafras can naturally be found growing in fields, roadsides, ditches, and disturbed sites.


  • Plant height:
    • Any
    • Over 3m
  • Moisture level:
    • Dry
    • Normal
    • Moist
    • Drought Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Shade
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Clay
  • pH:
    • Acidic
  • Depth:
    • Potted
  • Eco Zone:
    • 5a
  • Plant type:
    • Tree
  • Height:
    • 5-15 m
  • Spread:
    • 5-15 m