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Common Name:

Common Sassafras

Scientific Name:

Sassafras albidum

Family Name:



Common Sassafras is a medium to large shade tree native to Eastern North America including prtions of East and Central Texas. The aromatic leaves are a blue-green to green color in summer and turn beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges in the fall. Trees often sucker to form colonies.

Plant Habit or Use:

Medium tree, large tree


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Yellow to yellow-green, interesting, but not particularly showy

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Pea-sided blue-black berry-like drupe on a 2 inch long red to pink pedestal-shaped pedicel, mildly showy


30 ft to 60 ft


30 ft to 50 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

A tough tree once established, but a coarse root system inhibits successful transplanting. The roots are sometimes used to make sassafras tea, which is reportedly carcinogenic. The fruit, fall color, corky bark, and sympodial branching structure can be ornamental.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.