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  • W. Blake Kooi

What tree has leaves that look like a dinosaur foot?....Sassafras!!!



The sassafras tree is pretty unique. The leaves are edible and the roots can be made into a tasty tea. I’m only aware of two trees in the Midwest that you can eat the leaves—the mulberry tree and the sassafras tree. The leaves have a hint of lemony flavor and are full of vitamin C. You can eat them fresh as a trailside snack or dry them and use them later to thicken soup. They are another mucilaginous plant and mucilaginous plants tend to have many health benefits. Did you know that root beer was originally made with the root of the sassafras tree? Prior to that many people made the roots into delicious tea. If you plan on trying to make the tea, I’d suggest following the instructions by Sam Thayer in his book--Incredible Wild Edibles: 36 Plants That Can Change Your Life. He provides insights that remove many of the myths surrounding the sassafras tree root and adequately challenges the naysayers.

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