Native & Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas & Georgia


848

Tree
Perennial
Monoecious

Native to the Carolinas & Georgia
Documented growing wild in GA NC SC

Common (uncommon in Mountains)

Look for it in swamp forests, floodplains, moist forests, depressional wetlands, old fields, disturbed areas, per Weakley's Flora

map
To see a detailed map, click here

 

full sun ...Wet ...Moist ...Variable

LEAVES:
Deciduous
Simple
Alternate

FLOWER:
Spring
Unisexual
Radially symmetrical
Petals absent

FRUIT:
Summer/Fall
Capsule

 

TO LEARN MORE about this plant, look it up in a good book!



Spermatophytes (seed plants): Angiosperms (flowering plants): Eudicots: Core Eudicots: Saxifragales

WEAKLEY'S FLORA (11/30/12):
Liquidambar styraciflua   FAMILY Altingiaceae

SYNONYMOUS WITH PLANTS NATIONAL DATABASE:
Liquidambar styraciflua   FAMILY Hamamelidaceae

SYNONYMOUS WITH VASCULAR FLORA OF THE CAROLINAS (1968) 095-01-001:
Liquidambar styraciflua   FAMILY Hamamelidaceae

 

COMMON NAME:
Sweetgum


Click or hover over the thumbnails to see larger pictures.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913    pnd_list2_001_lvd

        

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    jkm0301a_13a

January    Greenville County    SC

Roadside

Tall & straight with a very compact pyramidal crown, per Teaching the Trees by Joan Maloof.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    jkm170103_058

January    Greenville County    SC

Some people refer to Sweetgum's corky, winged stems as "bacon on a stick!"

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

Richard and Teresa Ware    rtw_l_styraciflua_4

January        

Styles indurate [hardened] and spiny in fruit, incurved, per Flora of North America.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    jkm0403p_34

March    Greenville County    SC

Bunched Arrowhead Heritage Preserve

The corky bark seen on some twigs provides texture and winter appeal, per Landscaping with Native Trees.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    jkm100314_126

March    Decatur County    GA

The luna moth (Actias luna) prefers sweetgum in eastern forests, per Bringing Nature Home.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

Richard and Teresa Ware    rtw_l_styraciflua_2

March        

Produces an aromatic balsamic oleo-resin called American styrax or storax, per Flora of North America.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    jkm0204a_20

April    Anderson County    SC

Sweetgum trees don't begin to flower until at least 20 years old, per Teaching the Trees by Joan Maloof.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

Gill Newberry    gn05_liquidamber_fruits

May        

Flower heads develop into spherical compound fruit with multiple capsules, per Woody Plants of the Southeastern US: A Winter Guide.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

Richard and Teresa Ware    rtw_l_styraciflua

September        

Fruit a spiny ball of many capsules, persistent, woody, per Native Trees of the Southeast, An Identification Guide.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

Richard and Teresa Ware    rtw_l_styraciflua_1

September        

Wood is used for cabinet making, furniture, veneer, barrels, and wooden dishes, per Flora of North America.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

Richard and Teresa Ware    rtw_l_styraciflua_6

September        

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

Paul Thompson    pstliquidambar_styracifl

September?        

Crushed leaves have a pungent odor. — Clemson Extension

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    jkm0411h_34

November    Greenville County    SC

Roadside

The Aztecs used the aromatic sap of sweetgums as medicine, per Teaching the Trees by Joan Maloof.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    jkm0411h_37

November    Greenville County    SC

Roadside

A single tree often has green, yellow, orange, dark red and purple leaves, per Weakley's Flora.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    s011111_n

November    Greenville County    SC

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    s011111_o

November    Greenville County    SC

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    s011117_d

November    Greenville County    SC

Star-shaped leaves are finely toothed, per Woody Plants of the Blue Ridge.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    jkm081208_026

December    Greenville County    SC

The sap was previously gathered as a source of chewing gum, per Weakley's Flora.

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

JK Marlow    jkm081208_031

December    Greenville County    SC

picture of Liquidambar styraciflua, image of Liquidambar styraciflua

Richard and Teresa Ware    rtw_l_styrac_1_twigs

December    Floyd County    GA