Liquidambar styraciflua - Sweet Gum
This large shade tree boasts glossy green, star-shaped leaves that turn shades of red, purple, yellow, and orange in the fall. Insignificant yellow-green flowers emerge from April - May before producing dark brown, spherical fruit called gum balls. These hard fruits are roughly 1 inch in diameter and can be a nuisance in heavily trafficked areas when they start to drop from December - April.
- Brilliant fall color
- Excellent shade tree
- Deer and rabbit resistant
- Supports Imperial Moth and Hickory Horndevil larvae
- Provides cover, nesting sites, and seeds for birds
Map Credit: The Biota of North America
Map Key: Green (native), Teal (native, adventive), Blue (present), Yellow (present & rare), Red (extinct)
Historically, the bark of Sweet Gum trees were pulled back and scraped to obtain a resin-like solid. The resin could be used for chewing gum, incense, and perfumes.
Grows well in fertile, moist to average, well-drained soil. Will not tolerate heavy shade or alkaline soils.