Doryphora sassafras

Scientific name: Doryphora sassafras

Author: Stephan Friedrich Ladislaus Endlicher, 1804-1849

Common name: Sassafras, Yellow Sassafras, Golden Sassafras, Golden Deal, Canary Sassafras, New South Wales Sassafras.

Family: Monimiaceae (Athersopermataceae)




A veritable milkyway of flowers adorns a wonderful example of Sassafras, Doryphora sassafras, at the top of the Brunet Meadow, near the entrance to the Rainforest Walk. You will encounter this local species along the Gondwana Walk and a last-chance encounter could be the handsome specimen opposite the garden gates as you leave.

At this time of the year it is easy to see just how abundant the Sassafras are in the temperate rainforest of New South Wales and southern Queensland. Starry white flowers cover the tops of the trees distinguishing them from the other canopy species with which they grow.

Particulary fragrant foliage, reminiscent of the North American Laurel, Sassafras albidum, distingushes our Sassafras. A history of use for flooring, cabinet work, linings, mouldings and turnery of the soft, yellow, fragrant timber has given rise to many of the names evokative of sunny colour. The strongly scented bark was once used as a tonic and an on-going bonus is the insect-repelling property of the wood.

The Native or Australian Mulberry, Hedycarya angustifolia, and the Southern or Black Sassafras, Atherosperma moschatum are flowering along the Gondwana Walk. These native plants also belong to the ancient Gondwanan family, Monimiaceae. A keen eye may spot more of this Southern Hemisphere family’s members in the Gondwanan Section of the garden.

Golden daffodils, camellias, early rhododendrons, including a large-leaved beauty outside the restaurant, ericas, winter roses, witch hazel and magnolias all combine this week to announce that spring is underway on the mountain.