Description: This shrub or small tree bears different leaves on the same plant. Some leaves will have one lobe, some two lobes, and some no lobes. The flowers, which appear in early spring, are small and yellow. The fruits are dark blue. The plant parts have a characteristic root beer smell.
Habitat and Distribution: Sassafras grows at the margins of roads and forests, usually in open, sunny areas. It is a common tree throughout eastern North America.
Edible Parts: The young twigs and leaves are edible fresh or dried. You can add dried young twigs and leaves to soups. Dig the underground portion, peel off the bark, and let it dry. Then boil it in water to prepare sassafras tea.
Other Uses: Shred the tender twigs for use as a toothbrush.
All text and images from the U.S. Army Field Manual 3-05.70: Survival.
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