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Sassafras

Sassafras albidium

Family: Lauraceae

Location:
  • found in Eastern United States
Sassafras
Characteristics:
  • shrub or a tree
  • tree can grow to 60 feet tall
  • most often seen as an understory shrub, growing beneath larger trees
  • crushed leaves, twigs, and bark have spicy fragrance
  • mature bark is red-brown and furrowed
  • twigs green, often branched, sometimes hairy
Leaves:
  • not toothed
  • in 3 patterns: 3 “fingers”, a “thumb and mitten” outline, or smooth egg shape
  • usually all 3 patterns present on single tree
  • in fall they turn red, yellow, and orange
Sassafras Leaves
Flower:
  • greenish-yellow
  • grow in clusters
  • present April-June

Fruit:

  • blue, fleshy, and one-seeded
  • called "drupes"
  • present August-October
Sassafras Bark
Uses:
Shred the tender twigs for use as a toothbrush. Placing the leaves in your shelter will produce an effective insect repellent. A straight, strong piece of wood from this tree can produce an efficient bow for archery or hunting. The leaves can be boiled to produce an orange dye for fabric.

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