TREES & plants


Sassafras is a North American native tree that provides vivid fall color and interesting mitten-shaped leaves. In the wild it can form thickets, a trait that may not be appropriate for every landscape.

Botanical name: 
Sassafras albidum
All Common Names: 
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
  • Zone 9
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Dry sites
  • Road salt
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
  • Fragrant
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Irregular
  • Pyramidal
  • Round
  • Thicket-forming
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
Time of Year: 
  • Mid spring
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

  • This tree must be planted in the spring.
  • This is a thicket-forming plant.

Disease, pests, and problems


Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 3


Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife


Bark color and texture 


Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture


  • Shape: mitten-shaped, or oval or mitten-shaped with two 'thumbs'
  • Color: green
  • Fall Color: yellow-orange

Leaves are aromatic 

Flower arrangement, shape, and size


Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions


Cultivars and their differences