Jun. 26, 2018

wild sarsaparilla, Aralia nudicaulis

Have you ever visited one of the restored 19th century villages? And given in to curiosity about sarsaparilla. They always seem to have sticks of what was once penny candy, with sarsaparilla among them. In those olden days it was very popular. Now I wonder if anyone buys more than one in a lifetime. It turns out that sarsaparilla was once flavored with a combination of sassafras and wintergreen (which came from birch). Now, I don't know what they use, but it doesn't live up to the promise of those two flavors. All this leads up to the confession that wild sarsaparilla had nothing to do with the popular flavor. But it was used medicinally and as a poor substitute for the real thing. Maybe that's where they get the new tasteless version? Wild sarsaparilla grows in woodlands in CO, CT, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY, AB, BC, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT, and on SPM. Headlands Park, Emmet Co MI, 5/25/12.