Sassafras : Overview

Sassafras Tree

Sassafras albidum with multiple trunks, likely from a single root system. (2009)

by Luke Ban

Sassafras albidum, which belongs to the Laurel family, is a tree native to much of Eastern North America. It has a very distinct look with its mitten-shaped leaves and beautiful range of colors from its leaves, fruits, flowers, and bark. There is only one sassafras tree located on UVM’s campus, and it is found in a wonderful garden behind Jeffords Hall. I had never been back there because it is out of the way for most people, but when I went to find the tree in order to take pictures, I was amazed. There is a large garden of trees, flowers, and other plants with a peaceful grassy area in the middle and benches to sit on and enjoy the quiet and fresh aromas. The sassafras tree is somewhat hidden in the middle of other plants, but its interesting leaves and changing colors in fall make it stand out from the rest.