Re: [gardeners] Sassafras

George Shirley (
Wed, 21 Oct 1998 12:34:32 -0700

Linda Baranowski-Smith wrote:
> Hi Everyone,
> First my apologies to those of you on both Gardens' and Gardeners' lists
> for getting duplicates of this e-mail.  I need all the help I can get with
> this question.
> A friend is interested in sassafrass tree seed and this has become a major
> curiosity with find female trees with berries that mature in
> September/October.  We have a few trees that are apparently male, so we
> went to the metropark just up the street.  With their distinctive color and
> leaf shape, the trees are certainly easy to find.  None of the trees had
> fruit.
> The next step was to go to the library for info on female sassafras.  We
> found three good sources, all of which confirmed what we already knew.
> Then we went to the University Arboretum.  Certainly they would know and
> have both male and female trees.  Well, the experts there told us what we
> already knew and we scoured the hundreds of trees at the arboretum to find
> a female.  None of the very lovely trees had berries.  However, this
> scavenger hunt aroused their curiosity also. :o
> I now have most of the Biology Department of The U of Toledo and the
> Forestry Department in Toledo looking for female sassafras trees bearing
> seed.  I am stumped and more interested than ever in this question!
> Any input or experience out there?  Anyone have female trees?  TIA
> Linda in NW Ohio near Toledo/Lake Erie, USDA Zone 5

I've been running around the woods of SE Texas and SW Louisiana all my
life and have never seen a sassafras tree with seeds. Doesn't mean there
aren't any, just I never saw any. I have a small, 6 foot, sassafras
growing behind the house and now have two or three 6 inch trees coming
up 20 to 30 feet away. Just assumed they came up from the roots. This is
interesting, let us know what you find out. Sassafras trees are a way of
life down here, that's where gumbo file comes from, ground up sassafras