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Identify Sassafras

Sassafras Trees in the Laural Family - Lauraceae




Photo by Steve Nix Identify Sassafras

Sassafras is a genus of three species of deciduous trees in the family Lauraceae, native to eastern North America and eastern Asia.

Sassafras trees grow from 50–120 feet tall and 2.5–6 feet in diameter, with many slender branches, and smooth, orange-brown bark. Some parts of the plant is are very fragrant, especially the roots. The species has an unusual leaf with three distinct leaf patterns on the same plant, unlobed oval, bilobed (mitten-shaped), and trilobed (three pronged; rarely the leaves can be five-lobed).

The name "Sassafras," applied by the botanist Nicolas Monardes in the sixteenth century, is said to be a corruption of the Spanish word for saxifrage which means perennial herbs with showy flowers and often with basal tufted leaves.

The Common North American Sassafras

Leaves: alternate, mitten shaped or 3 lobed.
Roots: aromatic.
Fruit: shiny bluish-black berries.

ash | beech | basswood | birch | black cherry | black walnut/butternut | cottonwood | elm | hackberry | hickory | holly | locust | magnolia | maple | oak | poplar | red alder | royal paulownia | sassafras | sweetgum | sycamore | tupelo | willow | yellow-poplar


Check botanical term at the ID Glossary

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