Sassafras albidum
Family Lauraceae

* Leaves in three different shapes, all of which are usually found on a single plant. They may be either egg-shaped, shaped like a mitten, or in a "three fingers" pattern.
* Leaf undersides chalky white, hairless to velvety-hairy, 2-9".
* Twigs green, branched, sometimes hairy.
* Crushed leaves, bark, and twigs emit a spicy odor.
* Mature bark red-brown, furrowed.
* Flowers greenish yellow, in long drooping spikes.
* Fruits blue and fleshy.
* Height: 10-50'.

Natural History:
* Flowers April - June.
* Fruits August - October.
* Habitat: Old fields and woods.
* Range: Southern New England and east central United States.
* Native.

* Sassafras has been highly valued for its supposed medicinal value; in 1602, its wood cost 332 English pounds per ton. It was one of the first exports sent to England by Captain John Smith of the Jamestown Colony.

* Tea can be made by boiling the outer bark of sassafras roots.

* Sassafras oil, extracted from the root bark, is used in some soaps and was once a candy flavoring. A bark extract was also used to dye wool orange. Its wood has been used for barrels, canoes, and fuel.


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008