This sassafras leaf is from a tree that was felled in last month’s storm. In that time, its chloroplasts have died off, and now it looks very much like what a sassafras leaf would look like in the middle of October.
This leaf is a reminder that fall is not far away.
The cicadas have started to buzz, and the katydids are calling at night.
Summer is reaching its climax, and soon it will fall into the balmy days of September, then the frost, and then the snow.
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a very common tree around here.
It has three leaf shapes. There is this lobed shape, an oval shape, and a mitten shape.
At one time, the roots of the sassafras were used to make a nice country tonic.
Sassfras tea was commonly recommended as a blood thinner and as an antisceptic, and it has a very pleasant taste to it, something akin to root beer.
However, sassafras tea contains safrole, which the USDA considers a potential carcinogen.
So you can’t buy sassafras tea anymore.
But I must admit to having tasted it.
When I was a kid, my grandpa cut down a sassafras tree at the corner of his yard. The roots were boiled, and we all had some sassafras tea.
I guess trying it just once won’t hurt.