This unique, sweet smelling tree is a part if the Carolinian forest that is found in Rondeau.  The sassafras tree has three types of leaves that may all be found on the same tree. The leaves can be one lobed, which looks like an oval, two lobed, looking like an oven mitt, or three lobed, looking like a bird’s foot print.  It can grow to be 20 m tall and 50 cm in diameter, sometimes even larger.

Sassafras trees are part of the Laurel family, whose members normally have a spicy smell, like cinnamon, and camphor.  Sassafras is not the odd one out in this family, as all parts of this tree, including the leaves, and bark, give off a spicy odor when bruised.

The berries from the sassafras tree are blue and turn red as they ripen in late August.  These fruits are eaten by birds, and squirrels, and once they fall to the ground, they become a tasty snack for foxes and small mammals.  The seed flowers and pollen flowers are found on separate trees.  They are small, greenish-yellow, and appear before the leaves unfold.

This scented splendour is rare in Canada, but can be seen in a variety of locations in our park, including the parking lot of the Visitor Center, so come on over and check out our green wonder.

– A. Young (2014)

Sassafras Leaves (A. Woodliffe)



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