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Sassafras is native to North America, primarily to the eastern and southeastern United States and Native Americans have used the tree extensively. Sassafras trees now grow throughout the United States. In the early 1600’s, it was believed that Sassafras was a wonder drug that could cure just about anything. Sassafras believed to cure diseases, slow old age, help as a pain reliever, remove kidney stones, and prevent colds.
Sassafras trees are well known for another substance that is produced in the root bark called safrole. For many years safrole was used to make tea, beverages, root beer and candy flavoring. In the 1960’s, the FDA determined that safrole was considered carcinogenic and banned the use of this root bark. Sassafras leaves are very low in safrole (or don’t contain any at all in most instances) so they can still be safely used. Sassafras leaves are very low in safrole (or don’t contain any at all in most instances) so they can still be safely used.
The Sassafras tree is a must have for root beer lovers everywhere because the leaves and roots are used to naturally flavor root beer sodas, teas, candy and more. The leaves can also be dried, crushed and used in recipes such as traditional gumbo, candies and jelly.
Dark berries that birds and other small wildlife enjoy hang off of bright red stems for a striking color contrast.This tree is also very ornamental, smooth brownish orange bark, wood is light and hard, leaves usually consist of 3 lobes, but sometimes can occur as a two lobed 'mitten', or single unlobed oval. Once the vibrant leaves drop, they reveal the Sassafras Trees’ stunning wrinkled white bark that stands out amongst the winter landscape with eye-catching beauty. It's one of the few trees that attracts the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly.
Mature height 30-60ft with moderate drought tolerance.
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Planting Justice is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with an EIN of 27-0334905. 100% of donations are tax-exempt.
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