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Liquidambar styraciflua

Native Plants

Sweet Gum

4 Photos


Summary

Grown especially for its fall foliage, sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) is a large, fast-growing tree tolerant of poor drainage and drier soils. Glossy green, five-point, star-shaped leaves adorn the tree throughout the growing season and turn a combination of bright orange, gold, purple, and red in autumn. In spring, inconspicuous flowers give rise to the iconic spherical clusters of seed capsules which turn from green to brown in winter. These “gum balls” persist on the tree and can be a nuisance when they drop, though they are a source of nutrition for animals. Sweet gum makes a good shade or specimen tree for moist, acidic soils in full sun or filtered shade. It grows well with red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum), and Mt. Airy large fothergilla (Fothergilla ×intermedia ‘Mt. Airy’). Zones 5-9. 


More Details

  • Plant Type
    tree 
  • Sun/Shade Conditions
    part-shade-to-full-sun 
  • Foliage Character
    deciduous 
  • Soil Moisture
    average-to-wet 
  • Flowering Period
    early-to-mid-spring
  • Soil PH
    acidic 
  • Flower Color
    green 
  • Summer Foliage Color
    green 
  • Fall Foliage Color
    orange, purple, red, yellow 
  • Fruit/Seed Color
    brown