White sassafras, red sassafras, silky sassafras
– Laurel family
Can reach 65 feet tall, but typically
The leaves on a sassafras tree are arranged
alternately. They are green to yellow-green, and turn a
beautiful yellow with red tinges at the tips in autumn. The
leaves are typically ovate, or egg shaped. They are usually 4 -
6 in long and 2 - 4 in wide. They have a short, slender petiole
which is slightly grooved. The leaves themselves are strange, in
that there are three distinctly different shapes. These
different shapes are usually all on the same branch. One leaf
type is elliptical, while the second has two lobes, and the
third type has three lobes. The 2 lobed leaf resembles a mitten.
Young trees and shoots have a bright yellow
green mucilaginous bark that turns reddish brown with age. After
the tree reaches 2 - 3 years old, it will begin to develop
shallow fissures in the bark. The bark of mature trees becomes
The roots are thick and fleshy, and
frequently produce root sprouts which can develop into new
before the leaves appear
in loose, drooping, fracemes up to 2 in long. They are
yellow to greenish-yellow, with five or six sepals.
Sassafras typically has male and female flowers on separate
The fruit is a dark blue-black
drupe about 1/3 in long containing a single seed, borne on a red
fleshy club-shaped pedicel 3/4 in long. The fruit ripens in late
All parts of the plant are aromatic and
Sassafras grows in rich, moist, loamy, soils.
When young they can handle shade, but as they mature, they require
full sunlight for good growth.
All parts of this tree have been used by
humans for thousands of years.
Wild Food Uses:
Sassafras is used as a thickener, and a
flavoring in creole cooking. File' powder is made from the
leaves. Sassafras was also originally used to make root beer. I
still make a similar drink every once in a while. It is one of
my son's favorite things.
Sassafras wood has long been prized for
fire making because of the flammable oils contained in its wood
The following text is
meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or
treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other
qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of
any illness or injury.
It has been used to treat wounds. Woodland
tribes used to run the leaves on wounds in order to speed
healing. This wonderful tree has also been shown to be effective
at treating acne, urinary disorders, and fevers.