Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Sweet Gum
Give a thumbs up American Sweetgum
Give a thumbs up Sweetgum
Give a thumbs up Red Gum
Give a thumbs up Liquid Amber

Botanical names:
Liquidambar styraciflua Accepted
Liquidambar macrophylla Synonym
Liquidambar gummifera Synonym
Liquidambar barbata Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5b -26.1 °C (-15 °F) to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 40-60 feet
Plant Spread: 25 to 40 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Other: 1 to 1 1/2 inch brown, ball-like, spiny fruit borne on a long stem.
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Other: Female flowers are 1/2" ball shaped while male flowers appear as 3" to 4" upright racemes.
Flower Color: Green
Other: Yellowish-green
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Shade Tree
Useful for timber production
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Flood Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Other: Grafting
Pollinators: Bees
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Monoecious
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
Image

ATP Podcast #15: Edible Wild PlantsATP Podcast #15: Edible Wild Plants
April 24, 2013

In this episode, Dave and Trish talk about their favorite wild edible plants, the kinds of plants you might come across as you walk through the woods. Many of the plants on this list are sure to surprise you!

(Full article11 comments)
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Photo gallery:

Comments:
Posted by Kathy547 ( Arkansas - Zone 8b) on Dec 20, 2015 9:55 AM

Great fall color when the leaves change color. Nice shade tree. Gum balls are a pain (literally) for walking on or when you're mowing. However, they make an excellent filler for potpourri. You can also put them around plants to keep cats out.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 12, 2018 12:26 PM

The American Sweetgum has a native range from New Jersey & the Delmarva Peninsula down into central Florida to east Texas to southern Illinois & Indiana & Ohio into West Virginia in bottomlands and swamps and along watercourses. It has those glossy 5-lobed star-like leaves, 5 to 7 inches wide, that turn a good orange to red to red-purple autumn color. The brown bark is furrowed and the twigs are thickly corky winged. The tree does bear lots of the round, woody, horned brown ball-like fruits that fall all around the tree. It grows about 1 to 2 feet/year and lives about 150 to 300 years. I see lots of this species growing wild in bottomlands around most of Delaware. It has been commonly planted in the South and Mid-Atlantic as a shade and street tree, including central Illinois and infrequently in the Chicago area, where it has been just cold hardy enough to do alright. It is somewhat difficult to transplant, but nurseries dig it up in early spring as B&B. Its best range for pH is 6.0 to 6.5, but it does tolerate pH up to 7.0 at the most. It is windfirm, but it is messy from all the fruit.

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Plant Events from our members
AndreA33 On December 18, 2016 Seeds sown
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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Bagworms WANTED: yes you read it right! by GregC Jul 6, 2018 8:01 AM 9
Bug spoiled a whole plant, spreading to others, flying on house wall by ramyagaddam Jun 21, 2018 9:00 AM 8
american sweetgum? by KTINPINK May 17, 2018 4:44 PM 11
Help me ID this please! by Kbaldwin0630 May 2, 2018 12:06 PM 7
What species is this tree? by Redbird14 Apr 17, 2018 9:33 PM 5
Maple? by flaflwrgrl May 1, 2018 7:09 AM 21
Trees in New York state by Araceae Dec 25, 2017 7:55 PM 10
Banner for December 4, 2017 by GoatDriver by GoatDriver Dec 3, 2017 7:11 PM 1
What type of tree is it? by idreos Sep 26, 2017 2:31 AM 4
Autumn leaves ID by Alexjoy Nov 19, 2016 6:49 PM 10

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