Sassafras is in bloom but the flowers hardly garner a second look. It’s the other parts of the tree that get all the attention.
The roots are steeped to make sassafras tea and, once upon a time, they were used in the flavoring of root beer that is until the FDA banned the practice because lab tests with animals seemed to indicate large doses of the active ingredient safrole could damage the liver or cause certain kinds of cancer. I assume today, root beer gets its flavor from artificial sass.
Does anyone know a lab rat I can ask "Where do you get your sass?"
The dried and ground leaves of a sassafras tree are used to make filé powder, a spice used in some types of gumbo, Creole and Cajun soup/stew.
But the flowers? Well, they come in handy for making other sassafrases.
- Photo taken in Hardin Valley.