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Liquidambar styraciflua

Common Name(s):
Sweetgum
Cultivar(s):
Burgundy, Festival, Palo Alto, Rotundiloba , Aurea, Aurora, Oconee, Gumball, Corky, White Star, Variegata
Categories:
Shrubs, Trees
Comment:

The American Sweetgum tree may be the bane of some homeowner’s existence because of their troublesome fruit.  In his entry of the widely recognized Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs, Michael Dir states “This lovely tree would be on every gardener’s wish list were it not for the woody, spiny, capsular, 1- to 1  ½ – in. –diameter fruit, which abscise through fall and winter.” (228)

 The star-shaped leaves of this deciduous tree put on an incredible show in the fall displaying gorgeous shades of red, burgundy, yellow, and orange.  The tree is a moderate to rapid grower and highly resistant to insect attack, making it a good candidate for reforestation and land reclamation projects.  Reaching typical heights of 60 to 80 feet it is not uncommon to find them exceeding the 100 foot mark.  These trees grow in a very straight form which makes it a good species for lumber, furniture, musical instrument components and veneer.  Other attributes of the Sweetgum include the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil and provide large areas of shade. 

 

Fruit is a litter problem in lawn areas; seeds eaten by birds; 'Rotundiloba' is a fruitless cultivar (JC Raulston Arboretum seclection).  Learn more about 'Gumball' sweetgum shrub Cultivar.

by Tina Stricklen

Height:
60-100 ft.
Flower:
Insignificant flowers; spiny fruit
Zones:
6-9
Habit:
Deciduous
Site:
Sun to partial shade; dry to moist soil
Texture:
Medium
Form:
Pyramidal in youth; upright; semi-conical to spreading with age
Width:
50-75 ft.
Growth Rate:
Moderate to rapid
Leaf:
Star shaped leaves with 5 to 7 lobes; yellow, orange, scarlet, purple fall color

NCCES plant id: 2035

Photo of Liquidambar styraciflua Photo of Liquidambar styraciflua
Photo of Liquidambar styraciflua Photo of Liquidambar styraciflua
Photo of Liquidambar styraciflua Photo of Liquidambar styraciflua