Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is native to the United States. Asian has two related species. It’s been used for food and medicine for thousands of years.

The aromatic root used to be used to make root beer, but the FDA banned it when they realized it contains too much safrole to be considered safe. The safrole is mostly found in the oil, so if that’s removed, most sources report that it can be safely consumed and even sold commercially in the U.S.

Identification:

Height: Between 20 and 40 feet high.

Leaves: Uni-lobed, bi-lobed, and tri-lobed smooth, soft leaves.

Flowers: Yellowish-green. Blooms before the leaves come out.

Bark: Deeply furrowed on the inside. Smells like root beer.

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