Family: Lauraceae, laurel family
Genus, species: Sassafras albidum
Sassafras leaves have three distinct shapes: unlobed oval, two lobes, or three lobes. Leaves have smooth (untoothed) edges.
Bark of mature trees is thick, deeply furrowed.
Tiny yellow flowers are produced in spring. Male and female flowers are on separate trees (dioecious).
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.
The genus name and common name, Sassafras, is from the Spanish salsafras, for its medicinal use. The species name, albidum, is from the Latin for "white." The family name, Lauraceae, is from the Latin for "laurel" or "bay."