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Kentucky Color: Sassafras foliage has unique orange
P. S. as PROLOGUE: This week-end is a really great time to view fall colors of edge trees. Sumac, Dogwood, Sassafras, Black and Sweet Gum, White Ash, Mulberry and some early turning Maples really "show out" this time of year because of the contrast of the surrounding green foliage.
Click on headline for story plus photo
For next earlier Kentucky Color, click on Prickly Ash: Cloudy Purple in Color
By Billy Joe Fudge, President
Homeplace on Green River Inc., 6048 Old Columbia RD, Campbellsville, KY
Sassafras has the most unique orange that I know. It will often morph into a really pleasant red. Sassafras is another edge tree that you see in fence rows, along roadsides, etc.
Some of the most beautiful are on the East side of Hwy 55 on top of the David Pike Ridge which separates the Village of Coburg and the Village of Cane Valley, Adair County, KY.
Roots great for making beverages
Sassafras roots were used to brew an enjoyable tea for many of our ancestors and this essential oil was the original flavoring, for ready or not, Root Beer. Gee, I wonder where they got that name.
All parts of Sassafras are very fragrant. The twigs make great natural toothbrushes and breath fresheners.
Tree has unique qualities
Sassafras is a very beautiful, placid wood with a couple of unique qualities. It is very strong and it is very lightweight. While in Vocational Agriculture in high school, I built a 16 foot farm gate and a set of cattle racks for our pickup truck (yes, pickup trucks were used to haul things before they were used to pull things). Of course, the supply of log length Sassafras is somewhat limited but can be found.
Sassafras shares a North American Hardwood uniqueness with Mulberry in that their leaves are not all the same shape. The four different shapes are represented in the accompanying photo. In the rear is the classic "three lobe" and in the front are the "no lobe", the "left mitten", and the "right mitten."
P. S.: This week-end is a really great time to view fall colors of edge trees. Sumac, Dogwood, Sassafras, Black and Sweet Gum, White Ash, Mulberry and some early turning Maples really "show out" this time of year because of the contrast of the surrounding green foliage.
This story was posted on 2009-10-17 06:53:42
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