Sassafras Habitat

How tall is the biggest Sassafras tree you have seen? Mostly I’ve seen shrub size at largest but I have seen a decent tree size one once. What type of habitats do you find Sassafras growing? I’ve seen it growing mostly in uplands. I wrote about Sassafras if you interested in taking a look. https://njurbanforest.com/2020/10/11/plants-of-new-jersey-19-sassafras/

I’ve seen some quite large sassafras, two or three meters tall. Growing on the edge of a public park, near an active train track. In NJ, as it happens (Bergen county)

1 Like

The biggest I’ve seen are near a mountain bike trail at Mitchell Memorial Forest, not far from my home. I’m not a great judge of tree height, but you can see from the photos that the trees in this little grove are big! In the neighborhood of 40+ feet. (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/30786625)

Evidently, the largest sassafras in the state of Kentucky is also near my neck of the woods, in Owensboro. It stands 76 feet tall and is 253 inches in circumference. You might enjoy the article where I ran across that info: https://archive.is/20120709222043/http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1016/is_n5-6_v100/ai_15473433/

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/10311283

This one lives a few towns over from me and is the current national champion; however, there’s an enormous one I know of very close to where I live that I think may someday surpass the current champ.

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.9840661,-87.6367023,3a,90y,279.95h,91.1t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sXAT71zaEdf3arndnwcGrEw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

3 Likes

I have seen some really weird sassafras. Some with five “fingers,” some with what look like two leaves joined “thumb” to “thumb.” The weirdest part (or maybe not!) is that I have only seen these in the Central Savannah River Area, and they are fairly common there. I have pressed leaf specimens somewhere.

I would like to believe the official story about the Savannah River Site, but these weird sassafras make me wonder.

1 Like

It’s a common tree in dry-mesic sandy habitats here in southwestern Ontario. 30-50 cm DBH trees are typically the maximum size. Mature trees are tall, comparable to oaks and maples. But it’s a pioneer species and relatively short-lived, so very large trees are rare except in cultivated settings.

1 Like

I’m pretty familiar with Bergen County. Which park?

I typically see sassafras in drier, well drained soil. In Massachusetts it seems to be most common in the sandy soil on Cape Cod.

1 Like