Sunday, May 21, 2006


My first memory of seeing a sassafras tree and actually knowing what it was, came as a result of Girl Scouts. Not as a scout, but as a leader. I am sure it must have been during day camp at Camp Keck, or something like that. The camp had huge trees, and the sassafras has an easy identifying trait--three kinds of leaves on the same tree. I never saw one in bloom and didn't even know that they did bloom.

Until we moved to Florida. At the apartment complex we lived at in Palm Bay, little sassafras trees were planted all over, and were very decorative, with RED flowers on them. So pretty! I was amazed, but couldn't argue with the leaves. Three kinds, on the same tree--all the right shapes. I always meant to take photos of them, procrastinated, and then when we came back from Alabama after Hurricane Frances, the flowers had all been blown off. We moved into our house long before anything else happened with the little trees.

I did think about them now and then, but never saw another one, till last weekend when Anne wanted to go to the zoo. We were walking along, and all of the sudden I spotted a sassafras tree, in bloom. With red flowers. I got Mike to take a photo. Here it is!!!!

Now for the mystery, of sorts. I guess this must be a hybrid variety or something, along with all the others I have seen here? Mike looked up the sassafras tree online, and all the photos, etc, showed yellow flowers. Hummmmm. I just did a quick check on the AOL research links. According to the World Book Online Reference Center, the sassafras is found mostly in the eastern US (how did they get to Illinois????), can be found as shrubs along roads, and have small, pale yellow flowers. No mention of red.

I have to say, I really like the red flowers, and I haven't yet seen one with yellow flowers. Go figure.

Not much else going on around here. It is to get to 90 today here, and the mid 90's further inland. Hot and sunny and low humidity, great weather for more fires. I am glad our area is so open and has so little to burn. It makes it rather unlikely that we would have fires any too close to us.


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