Besides having an attractive scent for human bird watchers, the sassafras’ deep blue berries are eaten by some 28 birds including bluebirds, robins, red-eyed vireos, pileated woodpeckers, bobwhites and turkeys. Beavers like the bark ( and apparently are made of sterner stuff than cancer-catching lab rats.) Sassafras was one of the first exports from the new world to Europe.As early as 1584 entrepreneurs were sailing to the Americas exploring and looking for sassafras.
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Flower small showy, fruit, dark shiny blue ovoid in a red cup attached to a red stalks, maturing late summer.
Twigs slender, green and sometimes hair, spicy-sweet aroma.
Safrole was ordered off the market and the state of Louisiana nearly left the union.
One can’t have file gumbo without In all fairness, safrole is a strong oil — also found in the yellow anise tree and the camphor tree.
Usually a shrub in the north, can be a tree in the south but usually a small scraggly tree. ENVIRONMENT: Dry sandy spots, full sun to some shade.
Here in Florida it likes to grown like a persimmon, along the edges of woods, fields and roads.You can make tea from the leaves by pouring boiling water over a small handful and letting them seep off heat for a few minutes, straining out the leaves. Incidentally, the sassafras fruit resembles a blue berry in a red cup. The name (SASS-uh-frass) has been around for over 400 years, and there are several notions of where it came from.The leading contender is that it is a corruption of “saxifrage” which is Spanish from Dead Latin for “stone breaker” a (AL-bih-dum) is also from Dead Latin and means white, referring to the tree’s white roots.Because some researchers force fed some lab rats excessive amounts of sassafras oil —safrole — and they got ill.That people didn’t get ill from drinking root beer was irrelevant.It was used to induce abortions, perhaps a muted reason why research was conduced on safrole in the first place, and why a reason was found to ban it.