Sassafras albidum, Sassafras

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic 

Sassafras offers three-season interest: globelike clusters of chartreuse flowers in spring, leaves with three distinct shapes, dark blue fruit in red cups in summer, and foliage ranging from orange to crimson to purple in fall. This native is common in wood edges throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region except for the northern border of Pennsylvania.

Print Version: Sassafras albidum, Sassafras Sassafras albidum

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets.

Tags: Deciduous tree with an irregular, often twisted, trunk and flat-topped crown; dioecious, Mitten-shaped, oval, or 3-lobed green leaves, Small, fragrant showy flowers in globe-like clusters along 2-inch stalks in April, Shiny, dark blue egg-shaped drupes in a red cup attached to red, upright stalks on female trees, Yellow, orange, crimson or purple fall color, Can form thickets if suckers are not controlled, Tolerates clay soil and drought; averse to transplantation due to large tap root, No serious pests or diseases; deer seldom severely damage but may browse twigs & foliage, Ethnobotanic uses; all parts spicy and aromatic, Attracts birds, butterflies; larval host for Eastern Tiger and Spicebush Swallowtails and moths, Imperial, Promethea and Tulip-Tree Beauty, Rich, evenly moist Ailanthus altissima – Tree of Heaven, Sun, Partial Shade Broussonetia papyrifera – Paper Mulberry, Dry, Moist Morus alba – White Mulberry, Use as specimen (remove root suckers to grow single trunk) or screen (allow plant to colonize), Sapium sebiferum – Chinese Tallow Tree, Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-9