Sassafras is such a goldmine of plant lore. We will hardly scratch its surface here. But the first thing you should do with sassafras is exactly that. Scratch its surface. Peeling the twigs releases a wonderfully intriguing aroma. The roots are better. Sassafras root bark was one of the original and essential flavorings of rootbeer. We now know that one of its chemicals is carcinogenic, and it is banned. Kind of a reversal of form. The natural flavoring is bad, and modern chemicals are (hopefully) good. These are the female flowers. Male flowers will be a different trees. Sassafras grows in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME(S), MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, and ON. Lenawee Co MI, 4/19/12.