Answer: Sweet gum trees (Liquidambar styraciflua) are native in many areas, but it could be like looking for a needle in a haystack. According to Micahel Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, the tree grows in the wild "as a bottomland species on rich moist alluvial soils but is found in a great variety of sites". You might have better luck checking street and lawn tree plantings where they are often used -- just look for a tree with spiky "gumballs" on it. Good luck!
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