Silky Sassafras

Sassafras

Lauraceae Sassafras albidum

Native

This tree is found throughout the eastern United States except Wisconsin, Maine, and southern Florida. It can be found growing in forest understory, bottomland forest, old fields, dry ridges. It is a small to medium tree no larger than 90 feet tall. They generally grow in thickets thanks to a multitude of suckers and many stems from the same rootcrown. The leaf will often be three lobed or mitten shape, up to 6 inches long.

Sassafras has been long harvested for the manufacture of root-beer, and making of spring tonics in the southern Appalachians especially. The oils extracted from the roots and sometimes flowers are believed to help with headaches colds, diarrhea, rheumatism, and act as a blood purifier. It also has some cultivation as an ornamental plant for its autumn foliage color.