In the Pennsylvania State Publication “Common Trees of Pennsylvania,” is a tree that most of us would not be able to identify. It is the Common Sassafras tree.

Some years ago, Linda and I went to the annual Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival in Wellsboro. It is held about the third week in June when the Mountain Laurel  bushes are in full bloom with their showy white flowers. At one of the booths we stopped at, a fellow was selling wooden trees, which were designed as sunflowers. We were smitten and bought several for a measly $5 a piece.  

I asked the fellow what type of wood was the sunflower made from. He smiled and casually told us the wood was sassafras. He and his wife are from the Clearfield, Pennsylvania area. He told us that he cut the branches from a lot of those trees at the airport. If you get over to Alba, we have these items on both the front and back porches.

The Common Sassafras (Sassafras albidum (Nutt) Nees), is a small to medium-sized tree, to 50’ high, with crooked branches. Its roots, leaves, twigs and fruit have a  spicy odor; the oil contained in these parts is used for a “tea,” in medicines, perfumes, etc.  Its wood is mainly used for fence posts and fuel. 

The fruit is a berry, dark blue, shiny, about ½-inch in diameter, on a red stem enlarged at the point of attachment, borne in cluster. Yellow flowers appear before the fruit.

This concludes this series on the publication, “Common Trees of Pennsylvania.” As previously stated, you can obtain a copy at your Pa. State Representative’s local office.  In our area, Rep. Clint Owlett has an office in Troy and Wellsboro. Rep. Tina Pickett has an office in Towanda.  Each office has a vast array of interesting free items for you to simply pick up.  Knowledge is a good thing.  

Get outdoors and enjoy all the wonderful things in nature that God gives us to enjoy.