• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Sassafras albidum




  • Other common names sassafras
    ague tree

    sassafras tree
    white sassafras

    see more
  • Synonyms Sassafras officinale
    Sassafras variifolium

  • Family Lauraceae

  • Genus Sassafras are deciduous trees with deeply fissured bark and glossy aromatic leaves which colour well in autumn. The inconspicuous male and female flowers are carried on separate trees and females can produce showy fruit

  • Details S. albidum forms an upright tree, spreading by suckers. The three-lobed, aromatic foliage is light, glossy green and colours well in autumn. Sprays of small, green flowers open with the leaves and may be followed, on female trees, by red-stalked, dark blue berries

  • Plant range E North America


  • Foliage Deciduous

  • Habit Columnar/Upright

  • Fragrance Leaf

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)




  • Full Sun

  • Partial Shade

  • Aspect South-facing or West-facing

  • Exposure Sheltered


  • Clay


  • Loam


  • MoistureMoist but well-drained

  • SoilClay, Loam

  • pHAcid, Neutral


  • Ultimate height Higher than 12 metres

  • Ultimate spread wider than 8 metres

  • Time to ultimate height 20-50 years

How to grow

Cultivation Not always an easy tree to please. Likes woodland conditions - deep, moist but well-drained, preferably acid soil in sun or dappled shade. Mature trees are hardy but young trees can suffer frost damage

Propagation Propagate by seed sown in containers in a cold frame as soon as ripe; take root cuttings in winter

Suggested planting locations and garden types Architectural Cottage & Informal Garden

How to care

Pruning Pruning group 1. Remove suckers unless a thicket is required

Pests Generally trouble free

Diseases Generally trouble free

Did you find the information you were looking for?

RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.

Join the RHS now

Get involved

We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.