Sassafras Sassafras albidum
Family: Laurelaceae (Laurel)
Branching: Alternate

This small southern tree is usually distinctive when found.  Its twigs and buds remain quite greenish through the winter and have a pleasant and unique aroma when broken.  Leaves grow in three distinct shapes: unlobed, with two lobes (and asymmetrical) or with tree lobes.    Up close (especially with the scent test) it's not easily confused with much else.  These pictures were taken in early spring, so the end buds are more swollen and larger than they would normally be.

Winter twig of Sassafras.  It is quite common that the lateral shoot is longer than the main twig.

Another view of the winter twig

End bud and lateral buds.  (the end bud is larger than it would normally be)

Another view of the twig (the end bud is larger than it would normally be)

Young bark.

Bark starts to become scaly as it matures.

Mature bark has deep vertical furrows

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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