• Sweet Gum


    Sweet Gum                                                                                                                                                    Liquidambar styracifula

     The American sweet gum tree grows in eastern woodlandsfrom southern Connecticut to northern Illinois to Texas to central Florida. Sweet gum trees may reach heights from 80 to 150 feet, and they may spread to 45 feet wide. The trunk of a mature gum tree may be five feet in diameter. Gum trees can grow in moderately moist soil conditions, but they prefer wet bottomland areas along creeks and river banks.Sweet gum leaves are glossy and dark green in the summer. The leaves are star-shaped, with five or seven pointed lobes and finely serrated edges. Leaves commonly measure 7 inches across. The bark is furrowed, rough and scaly, hence the nickname alligator wood. Sweet gum seed pods, sometimes called gumballs, are spiny orbs produced from the clusters of small flowers that appear in spring.The brilliant fall colors and large, spreading size make sweet gum a sought-after species of shade tree for landscaping. The foliage ranges from yellow, golden, deep orange, fiery red to deep purple.