Conference Theme: The Hidden World of Plants
Sassafras albidum (sassafras) is a charismatic tree native to eastern North America, reaching its northernmost limit in Canada only in southern Ontario. Leaves are polymorphic with variations among three shapes on the same plant or even on the same branch: entire (elliptical), 1-lobed (“mitten-shaped”) and 3-lobed. The entire plant has a distinct spicy fragrance because of secretory oil cells present in all the organs. Legend says Columbus would not have reached America if not guided by the scent of sassafras lingering above the briny notes of sea air far off the coast. The tree is particularly beautiful in the fall when leaves are glowing yellow, orange and red. We have chosen sassafras for the logo because the leaf variation on the same plant can aptly serve as a symbol of both diversity and unity.