The way to Tell the Differences in Sassafras and Mulberry Tree Seedlings

The way to Tell the Differences in Sassafras and Mulberry Tree Seedlings

Sassafras and mulberry aren’t closely related, but are frequently confused for one another since the atom look similar. When the trees have matured, berries on mulberry trees are an easy way to distinguish the two. Young trees with fruit and aged bark are more challenging to classify and require a good look.


Sassafras (Sassafras albium) is a broadly dispersed bush-like plant known for its variable uses in cooking and medicine. It grows nicely in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 through 9 in well-drained, acidic soil. Once it prefers full sunlight, it can grow as a portion of the brushy undergrowth of a forest using moderate levels of light. Nature trail fans like boiling sassafras roots and leaves to make tea, whilst home cooks with more time can create root beer.


Three types of Mulberry trees exist: white mulberry (Morus alba), black mulberry (Morus nigra), along with the American or red mulberry (Morus rubra). The black and white mulberries are indigenous to Asia, along with the crimson is indigenous to North America; however, all three varieties are found in the United States. Normally, they are accepted for USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9 and grow nicely in drained acidic soil. Anecdotal evidence has found wide variations in such recommendations with trees collapsing within recommended zones or succeeding outside of those. This makes it necessary to consult your individual grower to find out their clone’s hardiness and desirable soil conditions. Mulberries are mainly appreciated due to their fruits. The berries can sometimes be a nuisance using considerable amounts of drop and subsequent staining, however are sweet and juicy when ripe and call large amount of wildlife to dine whenever they ripen.

Leaf Shape

The easiest way to inform the mulberry and sassafras apart is by examining their leaves. Both trees have turquoise, mitten- or ghost-shaped leaves. Mitten leaves have a central oval with a thumb on either side, whilst ghost leaves appear like a dual thumbed mitten, resembling a ghost figure with arms raised. The edges of a sassafras are smooth, while the borders of the mulberry have teeth on them. Look for little jagged saw-like ends on the leaves to identify the tree as a mulberry.

Other Indicators

You can also distinguish the two plants by looking for the aromatic scent of sassafras. If you crush a leaf from the fingers and smell citrus, it’s a sassafras. Mulberry leaves do not have a distinctive scent. You can also inspect the surroundings to confirm which seedling it’s. Mulberries will generally grow just in well-lit open areas. Sassafras are a lot more adaptable and will frequently be found in shady undergrowth regions of a forest.

See related

Comments are closed.