Sassafras – Sassafras albidum

Location: in Kaufman Park across from 935 Mulberry Lane.

Sassafras is a small, ornamental deciduous tree native to Missouri. At maturity is can reach 60 feet. It spreads by root suckers, producing a colony all arising from same parent tree. The leaves are variable and appear in three shapes, ovate with no “thumbs”, mitten-shaped with one “thumb”, and three-lobed or three-thumbed. Fall color ranges from yellow, purple to red.

Native Americans used sassafras oils for medicinal tonics, the bark for tea, the roots for root beer flavor and the stem pith for a thickening agent. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration has banned many uses of the oils because they contain a carcinogenic substance (safrole).

Beautifying University City, MO