Leaves: Alternate, simple; blades of three different shapes, some 3-lobed, some 2-lobed, some unlobed, tapering to the base, up to 6 inches long, without teeth along the edges, green and smooth on the upper surface, paler and either smooth or hairy on the lower surface. The leaves turn brilliant shades of orange, red, and yellow in autumn.
Buds: Ovoid, scarcely pointed at tip, greenish, up to ¼ inch long.
Bark: Greenish-gray when young, becoming deeply furrowed and dark reddish-brown when older.
Twigs: Slender, green, smooth, aromatic; leaf scars alternate, small, half-round, usually with three bundle traces.
Flowers: Staminate and pistillate flowers borne on separate trees, in few flowered clusters as the leaves begin to unfold, each flower about 1/3 inch long, greenish-yellow.
Fruits: Dark blue berries about one-third inch long in deep red cups and on stalks up to 2 inches long.
Wood: Soft, brittle, orange-brown.
Uses: Fence post; the roots are strongly aromatic and are dug, dried, and used in making Sassafras tea.
Habitat: Roadside, old fields, woods.
Growth Form: Usually small to moderate tree up to 40 feet tall, but rarely as much as 80 feet tall; trunk diameter usually up to 2 feet rarely as much as 6 feet; crown flat-topped, irregular, oblong.
Distinguishing Feature: The Sassafras is distinguished by its distinctively shaped, aromatic leaves and its green twigs.