sweetgum Hamamelidaceae Liquidambar styraciflua L. Listen to the Latin symbol: LIST2 Other Fact Sheets
Leaf: Alternate, simple, palmately veined, orbicular, 4 to 6 inches across with 5 to 7 lobes (look like stars), and a finely serrate margin. Shiny green above and pubescent in the axils of the veins below, fragrant when crushed.
Flower: Species is monoecious; females borne on a slender stalk, capped with a globose head, male flowers borne on an upright raceme; both are small, bright yellow-green (tinged with red) and not showy, appear in early to mid-spring.
Fruit: Easy to identify spiny "gumballs", woody brown spherical cluster of capsules, 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter with openings in the surface that release 2 seeds from each capsule; maturing in fall.
Twig: Medium textured, shiny green to yellow-brown, usually with apparent corky outgrowths, particularly when fast growing. The terminal bud is large and is usually sticky, covered with green to orange-brown, shiny scales.
Bark: Gray-brown, irregular furrows and rough rounded ridges.
Form: A medium to large tree to 80 feet tall with a straight stem and a pyramidal crown, especially when young.

Looks like: Shantung maple - blackgum
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information:
Liquidambar styraciflua is native to North America.
Range may be expanded by planting.
See states reporting sweetgum.
More: Fall Color Wood
External Links:
USDAFS Silvics of North America
USDAFS Additional Silvics
Landowner Factsheet
USDA Plants Database
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Photos and text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera,
and John Peterson
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