Sassafras trees smell like Fruit Loops. No, SERIOUSLY, they do. Scratch their bark or rub a leaf between your fingers, and a sugary, sweet smell that evokes memories of Kellogg’s cereal and brightly colored toucans will permeate your immediate surroundings. Warning: cravings for brightly colored sugary (whole grain?) donut-shaped objects may also ensue.
Now, I wish I could say that I figured out this fun and amusing fact all by myself, but alas, twas not to be. I actually learned it in school. It was in the same class where I learned that white ash leaf buds look chocolate chips, alternate-leaved dogwoods look like small pagodas, poison sumac rash is not fun, and there are literally dozens of different types of oaks, some with shaggy, hippy acorns, French berets, or even twins. (No, I’m not just rambling. I swear this does actually make sense.) I also learned that a person dressed up all in orange with a Fruit Loops box on their head for Halloween does not equal crazy, necessarily. They could just be making a rather obscure reference to Sassafras. (Sassafras trees have orange inner bark.)
Photo by Pymouss CC BY SA 3.0;Photo by Wowbobwow12 CC BY SA 3.0
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) grows in zones 4-9, reaches a height of 30-60 feet with a spread of 25-40 feet, prefers moist, acidic, loamy soils, flourishes best in full sun to partial shade, blooms yellow in May, and requires regular removal of root suckers to prevent the appearance of a multi-stemmed shrub.
Anyway, if you have lots of room (Sassafras trees grow upwards of thirty feet) and want your landscape to smell like sugary goodness, then maybe a Sassafras tree is the perfect plant for you. Call 703-679-8550 to set up a consultation!