Sassafras Tree Facts

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Whether you’re growing sassafras tree or not, read these Sassafras Tree Facts.

Sassafras tree grows in the United States and in south of Mexico. In the northern US, the tree grows up to only 7 to 9 m. high, but can grow as tall as 30 m. (100 feet) high in the south. Its shredded leaves and bark exude lemony scent. Fuzzy, yellow-green leaves, flowers, bark and roots have many medicinal and culinary uses. Read more sassafras tree facts below.

Polymorphic leaves

Polymorphic is a botanical term used to describe the leaves of trees such as sassafras. This means that on a tree, even on a branch, leaves of different shapes exist. Sassafras tree leaves often grow in three shapes: three-lobed, mitten-shaped and elliptical or egg-shaped. Most of the time there are just three lobes on the leaves, but up to seven are possible.

Size and color

Sassafras tree leaves are not particularly large, measuring between 3 and 7 inches long and up to 4 inches wide. The upper surface of the sassafras leaves is of bright green color, but the lower part of the leaves is considerably less bright, with an almost white appearance.

Fall colors of sassafras leaves are a major asset for the tree as a landscaping tool. Often spectacular, the leaves turn purple, orange, yellow and red.

When sassafras leaves are crushed or rubbed, they emit a pungent aroma. The petiole from where leaf attaches to the branch on a sassafras tree is long and thin.

Attractive to Wildlife

Sassafras tree is also attractive for many wild creatures. Butterfly caterpillars and deer likes to eat its leaves. In winter rabbits considers sassafras bark a delicious treat.

Fruits are eaten by many birds, including: Great Crested Flycatchers, Wild Turkey, Pileated Woodpeckers, Flickers, and Northern Mockingbirds. Small mammals also eat the fruit.

More Sassafras Tree Facts

Sassafras trees are known to repel mosquitoes and other insects.

The tree is designated as an ornamental tree because of its strange shaped leaves.

The rich flavor from sassafras roots have also been put in soups and stews for an unusual extra flavor.

The roots and bark of the sassafras tree was used to make oil.

Some soaps, lotions and flavors of medicine have been adding this tree oil for an unusual, perhaps somewhat exotic, smell or taste.

Also Read: How to grow sassafras

*The roots and bark of sassafras tree are considered to have a toxic called safrole, which can be harmful if taken in very large amount. We recommend you to do further research on this before culinary uses.

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