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Tree Browser

With these characteristics: None

Sweetgum or American Sweetgum

Liquidambar styraciflua

Hamamelidaceae - Witch-hazel

Description

Leaves: Alternate; simple; 6" to 7" wide; deciduous; star-shaped with 5 to 7 palmately arranged lobes; finely serrate margins; bright green and glossy above; hairy where veins meet below; petioles long and slender; fall color yellow to purple to red.

Twigs/buds: Twigs slender to stout; green to yellow-brown; round or slightly angled and may develop corky wings; glossy; pith star-shaped in cross-section.  Terminal buds 1/4" to 1/2" long, with several orange-brown scales; lateral buds similar but smaller.

Flowers/fruit: Monoecious.  Flowers small and inconspicuous, in small heads; no petals; bloom in April to May.  Fruit a globose head of 2-celled, beaked capsules; 1" to 1-1/2" in diameter; woody; brown; held on a long, slender stalk; persists on trees into winter.

Bark: Thick; gray-brown; deeply furrowed into narrow, tight ridges.

Wood: Very important; light colored sapwood; reddish-brown heartwood; moderately heavy, hard, and strong; diffuse-porous; used for lumber for furniture and boxes, veneer, railroad ties, and pulp.

General: Native to the southern two-thirds of the eastern U.S., extending west to southeastern Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and eastern Texas.  Shade intolerant.  Fruit and/or plant part can be nuisances; use fruitless varieties if possible.

Landscape Use: A large tree that can be planted in Utah, but may winter kill in colder areas and will not do well in our highest pH soils; otherwise a desirable landscape tree with beautiful fall color.  I have not seen many of these in Utah, but the ones I have seen are doing well.  Several doing very well on the USU campus.  The strong, pyramidal habit is very appealing and the leaf shape is interesting.  Zones 5-9.

Cultivars: 'Emerald Sentinel', 'Golden Treasure', 'Grandmaster', 'Gumball', 'Moraine', 'Oconee'', 'Rotundiloba', 'Silver King', 'Variegata'.

Characteristics

General

Family:
Hamamelidaceae - Witch-hazel
Cultivar Availability:
Yes
Hardiness Zone:
5-9
Type:
Broadleaf
Utah Native:
No

Growth

Growth Rate:
High
Mature Height:
High
Longevity:
High
Is Good Under Power Lines:
No
Crown Shape:
Pyramidal

Ornamental

Bark:
No
Fall Color:
Yes
Flowers:
No
Foliage:
Yes
Fruit:
Yes

Tolerence

Shade:
Low
Salt:
Medium
Drought:
Medium
Poor Drainage:
High
Alkalinity:
Low
Transplanting:
Medium