Tree & Hedge Company

Sweet Gum

Liquidambar styraciflua

A medium sized tree well-loved for its spectacular, intense autumn leaf colours and maple-like leaves.

Soil types
Chalk, sandy and loam soils from slightly acidic to alkaline. Grows particularly well in calcareous soil.
Location
Full sun, requires warmth, avoid shade.
Height
Usually a medium sized tree reaching around 15 metres high but can be higher.
Flowers
Inconspicuous, appear in April/May.
Foliage
Deciduous, maple-like green leaves appear in May.
Fruits
Decorative, spiky balls hanging on long stems, like those of the London plane tree, persist well into the winter months.
Roots
Cordate shaped and far spreading, tolerant of long periods of ground flooding.
Bark
Dark grey, corky and deeply grooved bark. Straight, upright truck.
Crown shape
Pyramidal when young, but later broad and ovoid.

Back in the day, American Indians were the first to chew on the corky bark of the Sweet gum, tree which excretes a sticky resin known as ‘liquid amber’. This pleasant-smelling resin later became a raw material used for the making of chewing gum.