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Sassafras albidum,
Wanaque, New Jersey
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Laurales
Family: Lauraceae
Genus: Sassafras

S. albidum
S. randaiense
S. tzumu


Pseudosassafras Lecomte

Sassafras is a genus that contains three[1][2] current and one extinct[3] species of deciduous trees in the family Lauraceae. It was originally in eastern North America and eastern Asia.[2]

Sassafras trees grow from 9.1–18 m (30–59 ft) tall and from 7.6–12 m (25–39 ft) wide.[4] The trunk grows 70–150 cm (28–59 in) across.

"Sassafras" was named by the botanist Nicolas Monardes in the 16th century. It is said to be a corruption of the Spanish word for saxifrage.


Fossil Sassafras hesperia leaf


  1. Flora of North America: Sassafras
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nie, Z.-L., Wen, J. & Sun, H. (2007). "Phylogeny and biogeography of Sassafras (Lauraceae) disjunct between eastern Asia and eastern North America". Plant Systematics and Evolution 267: 191–203. doi:10.1007/s00606-007-0550-1 .
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wolfe, Jack A. & Wehr, Wesley C. 1987. "Middle Eocene Dicotyledonous Plants from Republic, Northeastern Washington". United States Geological Survey Bulletin 1597:13
  4. Dirr, Manual of woody landscape plants. Page 938.

Other websites

Media related to Sassafras at Wikimedia Commons