Sweetgum

Liquidambar styraciflua

Family Hamamalidaceae


Notable Features
Leaves: Leaves are alternate*, star-shaped, with 5 to 7 pointed lobes* and deep sinuses*. Lobes toothed and hairless.
Twigs/Buds: Twigs are smooth yet dotted with numerous leaves or leaf scars; smaller twigs usually have corky wings. Buds* are numerous, glossy, and fringed with sparse hairs.
Bark: Bark is a dark gray and evenly, vertically grooved.
Fruit: Many infructescenses* appear in spherical heads April through May, and later turn into prickly, dried, dark brown spherical fruits that hang from long, thin stems, September through November.
Size/Shape: A large tree, growing to heights of 120 feet (36 meters) with diameters of 5 feet (1½ meters).

Location on Campus

(click for map)

Located behind the Catholic Chapel on the edge of a wooded area near Chapels Field. Also next to the Castle, directly across the walkway from the entrance to Cholmondeley’s Coffeehouse.

Uses
The hardened sap of the sweetgum can be collected from the surface of the bark and used as chewing gum.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.