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Liquidambar formosana is often confused with:
Liquidambar styraciflua Liquidambar styraciflua
Liquidambar styraciflua 'Gumball' Gumball Sweetgum
Native alternative(s) for Liquidambar formosana:
Liquidambar styraciflua Liquidambar styraciflua
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Ostrya virginiana Ostrya virginiana
Quercus acutissima Quercus acutissima, tree
Quercus robur Quercus robur

Chinese Sweetgum Liquidambar formosana

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Formally in Hamamalidaceae
Phonetic Spelling
lick-wid-AM-bar for-moe-SAY-nuh
Description

Not native to North America this sweet gum gets its common name from the sap that oozes from any wounds on the tree.   It is commonly used for shade; on streets without sidewalk or in a lawn space that is more than 6 ft wide.  It is also used in bonsai.  The tree, in general, is showy, but the flowers and fruit are not showy.  Fruit attracts birds but fruit and leaves are a litter problem.  Be careful when locating Formosa Sweetgum as a street tree since its large, aggressive roots may eventually lift curbs and sidewalks. Plant trees 8 to 10 feet or more away. The fruit may be a litter nuisance to some in the fall through winter, but this is usually only noticeable on hard surfaces, such as roads, patios, and sidewalks.  Its shape is pyramidal in youth but grows into a rounded-irregular form though it will require pruning to develop a strong central leader and good shape.  Its wood is used for to make furniture and other home interior finishes like flooring.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: May be susceptible to bagworm, fall webworm, leaf miner, tent caterpillar and cottony cushion scale. May be attacked by canker disease.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#showy#bonsai#park#high maintenance#street tree#furniture wood#showy fruits#lawn tree#food source#messy#deer resistant#glossy leaves#lumber
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#showy#bonsai#park#high maintenance#street tree#furniture wood#showy fruits#lawn tree#food source#messy#deer resistant#glossy leaves#lumber
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Liquidambar
    Species:
    formosana
    Family:
    Altingiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern China, Taiwan
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruit attracts birds.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 35 ft. 0 in. - 45 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Thorns
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Dark brown, spherical burr-like cluster 1.5" in diameter appear in late summer and can persist into winter. Fruit is less woody and softer than L. styraciflua so are not as much of a stepping hazard.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Insignificant
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    April-May non-showy round clusters
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Deltoid
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple star-shaped leaves with 3 lobes (instead of the 5-7 lobes of other Liquidambar spp.), palmate; acuminate tips and cordate to truncate bases. Yellow to red fall color but quality varies.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Corky Ridges
    Stem Description:
    Branches covered with corky projections. Twigs are breakage resistant but can cause littler problems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Messy