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Sassafras albidum

 
Sassafras albidum

Common name sassafras
Family lauraceae
Life cycle tree (Z4-9)
Flowers greenish-yellow (early spring)
Size to 80'
Light sun-part shade
Cultural notes drought-tolerant when established

Several months after encountering sassafras at the Akelaland cub scout resident camp and becoming familiar with its distinctive mitten leaf shapes and sap flavor, I noticed a volunteer sapling in one of our garden areas. With great difficulty (it was growing through a stone wall), I extracted it, and allowed it to overwinter in our veggie garden. The following spring, I moved it to a woodlandish place of our back yard island, where it proceeded to die a quick and unceremonious death. I have since attempted to re-establish a couple plants in that same woodland area (which should be a good place for them to grow. The jury's out on whether I'll meet with success this time around...
The ultimate size stated above really misrepresents specimens typically encountered, which tend to grow as colonizing understory shrubs to several feet tall. Every once in a while one grows into a small tree, but I've never seen any grow to grand stature. In any case, that's not what I'm looking for in our garden.

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

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Last modified: June 15, 2014
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