Site Information

 Loading... Please wait...

Sassafras

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) ranges throughout the eastern United States. The tree is intolerant to shade and is frequently found colonizing abandon fields, road sides, dry slopes, and old fence rows. The wood, when freshly cut, has the distinctive odor of sassafras. The wood tends to darken with exposure to light and is sometimes used as a chestnut substitute.  Although the lightweight wood, soft and brittle as it is, has little commercial value (don't tell a woodturner that, though!), the sassafras yields an oil which is extracted from the root bark to make perfume. Moreover, the roots, bark and leaves, all three, give off a spiced scent, and the oils from them are used in soapmaking and in flavoring drinks. Sassafras tea, anyone? The orange wood has been used in making and repairing wooden barrels and tubs, buckets, wooden posts, and furniture; it is also used in woodturning (but of course). One other thing you might not know -- the sassafras tree's wood is good for restoring depleted soils in overworked and old fields.