Sweetgum

Liquidambar styraciflua

Sweetgum: Full Tree - Click for larger image
  • Family: Hamamelidaceae

  • Large-sized tree

  • Conical crown and straight trunk

  • Reaches height between 18-30m (60-100’)

  • Click here for close-up of branches (autumn coloring)

Leaves
Twigs & Fruiting Structures
Bark
Distribution and Uses

Leaves

  • Star-shaped; 7½-15cm (3-6”) in length; 5 (sometimes 7) long-pointed, saw-toothed lobes on each leaf; even leaf bases

  • 5 main veins from base with thin leafstalks

  • Spicy odor when leaves crushed

  • Shiny green from above; paler and hairless below

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Sweetgum: Leaf - Click for larger image
Sweetgum: Buds - Click for larger image

Twigs & Fruiting Structures

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Bark

  • Grey; furrowed into scaly ridges

Distribution & Uses

  • Prefers moist soils such as valleys and mixed woodlands

  • Distribution includes much of Southeastern United States, from Connecticut south to Florida and west to eastern Texas

  • Sap given off through tree wounds; resin had medical uses, chewed by some people

  • Wood used for veneer, furniture, plywood, boats, toys, and fuel

  • Seeds eaten by variety of wildlife such as chipmunks, songbirds, wild turkeys, and grey squirrels

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Sweetgum: Bark - Click for larger image