He's talking about Sassafras. It's a tree. We had them in Pennsylvania. So they don't grow just in the south.
You can make tea out the leaves and I believe some kind of root beer.
I remember chewing the leaves and branches when I was a kid. Kind of a sweet woody taste. I don't know about buying it. Maybe now that you have the name, you can figure it out!
Keep the quetions coming Ceili! You're making me feel like I'm semi-knowledgable tonight!