plant-banner1

Plant Details

Liquidambar styraciflua

Sweetgum, Red Gum

Scientific Name:

Liquidambar styraciflua

Common Name:

Sweetgum, Red Gum

Plant Family

Altingiaceae (Sweet-Gum Family)

Native/Alien:

Native

Type:

Deciduous Tree

Bloom Color(s):

green

Size in Feet:

80 - 100

Light:

Full-sun, part-sun

Soil Moisture:

Hydric, Sub-hydric, hygric, sub-hygric, mesic(*)

Bloom Time:

April - May

Bloom Area:

State-wide

Habitat Description:

Swamp forests, floodplains, moist forests, depressional wetlands, old fields, disturbed areas.

Notes:

"One of the most spectacular of our trees in the fall; a single tree often has a mixture of green, yellow, orange, dark red, bronze, and purple leaves. The sap was previously gathered as a source of chewing gum. The bark is one of the favorite foods of beavers. Although sometimes thought of as a small and weedy tree, Liquidambar reaches its greatest abundance and size in Coastal Plain swamp forests, where it can reach 2 meters in diameter. Along with such species as Pinus taeda, Quercus phellos, and others, Liquidambar is a good example of a primarily bottomland tree which has proven to be an excellent colonizer of
disturbed uplands." Weakley Flora 2015

Male (upright) and female (pendulous) flowers

Sweetgum is a bottomland tree that is a successful colonizer of disturbed ground. The round, spiny fruits persisting in winter, star-shaped leaves and corky wings on the twigs are good identifying marks.

image

Jack Spruill, Hampstead, April 15, 2011

Bark from a young tree, showing sapsucker damage

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, a type of woodpecker, drill holes in trees and consume the sap that runs from the wood. They also feed on the insects attracted to the sap.

image

Jack Spruill, Hampstead, 2011

Bark of mature tree

Sweetgum is a valuable timber tree, used for furniture, veneer, trim, and pulp.

image

Paynter, May 2011

Leaf

In the fall, sweetgum leaves turn brilliant shades of yellow, crimson or maroon.

image

Paynter, Wilmington, May, 2011

Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record


Bird-Friendly Native Plants

Permalink - (right click to save this page to your bookmarks)

<<< PREVIOUS

NEXT >>>

Comments - Leave a comment or read what's been added!
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

back to top
go to gallery
back to Initial l Gallery
back to orchids
back to Carnivorous Plants
back to Trilliums