2020-2021 Board of Directors
Unit Chair Kathryn Ramsay
Vice Chair Kit Schooley
Treasurer Terry Schooley
Secretary Ellen Corbett
Newsletter Elaine Campbell
Craft Group Libby Rymer
Herb Study Any Johnson
Membership Anna Weston
Rosemary comm. Edythe Schwartzel
Archivist/Herbarist Terry Wheeler
GSO History Museum Kathy Schlosser
Nominating Caryl Talcott
Ways & Means Libby Rymer
Directory Debbie Freud
Facebook Nannette Wilson
Sassafras, Sassafra albidum
Sassafras was selected as the signature herbal tree of the NC Unit due to its abundance in North Carolina and history of uses.
This is a tree of forest edges, roadsides, fence rows, and thickets.
It grows to as much as 60 feet tall and will form colonies from root suckers.
Long used to make a beverage from the root bark, the FDA banned such uses in 1960 on the discovery that safrole, though not carcinogenic, does metabolize in the body to very active carcinogens.
The leaves do not contain safrole, or only in trace amounts, and is still dried and powdered to make File powder, a flavoring and thickening substance. To use File powder, stir it into soups or stews at the end of cooking, preferably at the table. If heated too much, the File powder will form a stringy mass. The leaves have a slight lemon fragrance and have been used in potpourri blends.
The leaves are often one of the first that are learned by children, primarily because of the "mitten" shape of some leaves. The leaves can take several forms on the same tree, from egg-shaped, to mitten, and three-lobed.
Female trees produce clusters of dark blue-black berries (not edible) which are borne in scarlet cup-like receptacles on scarlet stalks. The leaves turn a brilliant orange and crimson in Autumn.
Photos: Katherine K. Schlosser
Unit Meetings: Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month, September through May. Our meetings begin at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and a few minutes to catch up with friends. The program, featuring a speaker on a topic of interest, is from 10:00 - 11:00. We have a short business meeting until 11:45, then have a catered lunch.
Every member may elect to participate in additional opportunities according to interest and time available, including ~
Herb Study Group: This group meets monthly in a members' home. One or more herbs are studied in some depth, or other topics of interest are explored. In the past we have looked at the history of Women In Botany, Landscape Design, Botany Study, Herbs and Art, Liqueurs, and others. It is an informal group with each member participating in some way.
Craft Group: For the crafters among us, this group meets their creative needs, using herbs to make lovely items that they take home, use for gifts, or offer to sell at our Unit meetings so other members can enjoy their work. The group meets in members homes or other facility as needed, and all contribute project ideas. All items are related to herbs in some fashion.
Culinary Group: As might be expected, many of our members are outstanding cooks who are curious about learning new ways to incorporate our old favorites into tasty and attractive dishes. This group also meets monthly in the home of a member and lunch is served centered on the herb being studied. Each member contributes an item to the lunch.
HERB SALE: Held in April each year...one of the largest Herb sales in the State, and certainly the older (since the early 1980s). For more information, click on "Herbs" above, then on Herb Sale.
MidAtlantic District Meeting: The Herb Society of America is divided into 7 districts in North America. We are in the MidAtlantic District, along with the South Jersey Utnit, Philadelphia Unit, PA Heartland Unit, Mason-Dixon Unit, Potomac Unit, Shenandoah Unit, Colonial Triangle Unit, VA Commonwealth Unit, and Roanoke Valley Unit. The District meets once a year, hosted by a different Unit each year. Speakers, vendors, and opportunities to meet fellow members abound.
SEPTEMBER 2020: WILLIAMSBURG, VA.
Herb Society Educational Conference and Annual Meeting: Held annually at various places around the country. The structure of the meeting alternates: one year a full 3-4 day conference, and next a shortened 1-2 day meeting. Packed with interesting, knowledgeable speakers, vendors, plants, and friends. 2020 Charleston, SC CANCELLED
Symposia: Occasionally we conduct a symposium or other event of interest that is open to the public. Over the past two years we have invited Andrea Wulf, author of Founding Gardeners and The Invention of Nature to speak as well as other nationally recognized authors.
We Would Love to Have You Visit!
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The North Carolina Unit is a member of the Herb Society of America, Inc. Visit the national organization at