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I'm thinking it is a discoloration in the sap wood. If you go too far, I suppose most or all of it will disappear. There might be a trace in the heartwood.

I'm working on a piece of sassafras that I'm trying to just smooth the bark. I will have to chalk the effort up to experience, because the wood was greener than I thought, and in areas the bark peeled right away. But in the places where I was successful, I took it down to 800 grit. It is quite smooth to the touch, and a few coats of teak oil seems to have hardened it some, and made the colors richer.

Perhaps if you did something similar you would retain the rust colored streak.
 
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