This tree is in the middle of the open area between the Divinity School and 21st Ave. S. It's not in very good condition, but it is probably the largest sassafras on campus and therefore provides an opportunity to observe the bark of a large sassafras tree.
One rarely mistakes sassafras for any other tree if its mitten-shaped leaves
are present. No other tree has mitten-lobed leaves with smooth margins. Unfortunately, some trees have few or no lobed leaves and their oval leaves look like those of several other species.
Several other characteristics can differentiate sassafras from other trees having leaves with no lobes or teeth. When crushed, the leaves emit an aromatic smell. Spicebush is the other small tree that has aromatic, unlobed leaves. However, spicebush leaves
have a pointed tip and spicebush does not have the characteristic green twigs
of sassafras. In this area, only box elder has green twigs
like this, and box elder has opposite leaves rather than alternate ones like sassafras.
are rather odd looking with a single, berry-like structure attached to the end of something that resembles a golf tee. These fruits may be observed on some trees in the fall. The bark
of large sassafras trees (such as this one) develop furrowed bark. When chipped, the ridges have a cinnamon color