Sassafras is an attractive deciduous tree that potentially can reach more than 80 ft (24.4 m) in height, but typically is only 20-30 ft (6.1-9.1 m) tall. It has a rather slender, pyramidal shape, with horizontal branches in distinct tiers. The 3 lobed leaves are symmetrical, and the single-lobed leaves look like left and right handed mittens. The saplings have smooth, orange-brown bark but the trunk becomes deeply furrowed in larger trees. In autumn the leaves turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. All parts of sassafras are aromatic, smelling like root beer. The flowers open before the leaves in early spring. They are small and greenish yellow, and give way to fleshy dark blue drupes about a 0.5 in (1.3 cm) in diameter. The flowers, which are among the earliest in spring, are very popular with honey bees and other insects. Songbirds devour the fruits as fast as they ripen. Sassafras (along with other members of the laurel family) is the host plant for the spicebush swallowtail butterfly.
Sassafras albidum - Floridata Home, http://mobile.floridata.com/Plants/Lauraceae/Sassafras%20albidum/686 (accessed January 23, 2017).