Botanical Name

Sassafras albidum

Other Common Names

White Sassafras, Golden Elm


North America

The Tree

The aromatic tree or thicket-forming shrub varies in height from less than 40 feet to a maximum height of about 90 feet, with a trunk diameter of 24 to 60 inches.


The sapwood is light yellow and narrow; the heartwood is orange to dark brown, occasionally with orange swirls about ¼ to ½ inch in diameter.


The wood is ring porous, making the growth rings very distinct. The early wood pores are easily seen with the naked eye. The wood, when freshly cut, has the distinctive odor of sassafras. The wood tends to darken with exposure to light.

Working Properties

The wood has excellent machining characteristics and is a favorite for home woodworking projects.


Boat building, Building materials, Canoes, Foundation posts, Interior construction, Interior trim, Lifeboats, Medicine, Millwork, Oil, Posts, Shipbuilding, Stakes, Scent Soaps, Tea.


Most Sassafras trees are too small to yield significant quantities of lumber. When available, Sassafras is often mixed at sawmills with other species such as Ash. Price range is moderate.