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Sassafras


Family:  Lauraceae, laurel family
Genus, species:  Sassafras albidum

Leaves:
Sassafras leaves have three distinct shapes: unlobed oval, two lobes, or three lobes. Leaves have smooth (untoothed) edges.

Bark:
Bark of mature trees is thick, deeply furrowed.

Flowers:
Tiny yellow flowers are produced in spring. Male and female flowers are on separate trees (dioecious).

Fruit:
Fruits are small, oblong, dark blue, produced on long red-stalked cups. Only female trees produce fruit.

Common Uses and Interesting Facts:
Oils distilled from roots, bark, or fruit are used to make root beer and sassafras tea.

More Information:

The genus name and common name, Sassafras, is from the Spanish salsafras.  The species name, albidum, is from the Latin for "white."  

Photos: