The sassafras, a native medium-sized deciduous tree in eastern North America can grow up to about 50 feet tall. The dark red-brown bark of mature trees is thick and furrowed. The leaves are bright green; the undersides are drab green. They have three different shapes: three-lobed leaves, unlobed leaves, and two-lobed leaves. Sassafras was used for medical purposes before modern medicine, and until 1960, when certain compounds in the roots were found to be carcinogenic, it was used in the production of root beer and gumbo.