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Liquidambar styraciflua

Liquidambar styraciflua L.

 

American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassHamamelidaeWind-pollinated shrubs
OrderHamamelidalesWitch hazels and related plants
FamilyHamamelidaceaeWitch-hazels
GenusLiquidambarFrom the Latin liquidus, “liquid, flowing,” and the Arabic ambar or anbar, “ambergris,” in reference to the fragrant gum or resin exuded by this tree
SpeciesstyracifluaFlowering with gum, see following entry

About plant names...

American sweetgum is native to the eastern United States and mountainous regions of Mexico and Guatemala.

Identification: Sweetgum trees have several unusual and interesting features. They are 60-100' (18-30 m) tall, and 40-60' (12-18 m) wide. Some trees develop corklike ridges on 2-year-old stems (Photo 5), or even pyramid-shaped bumps. Leaves are distinctively shaped—a 5- or 7-pointed star. Leaf edges have somewhat serrated edges. When crushed, the leaves produce a camphor-like odor. In the fall, leaves may be shades of red, orange, deep red, or purplish. Flowers are inconspicuous, yellow-green in color. The distinctive-looking fruits are tough spiny round or oval balls that persist through the winter.

Online References:

Liquidambar styraciflua on the USDA Plants Database

Liquidambar styraciflua on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Liquidambar styraciflua at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Liquidambar styraciflua at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Liquidambar styraciflua on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

1 · 4/7/2012 · Ladew Topiary Gardens, Monkton, MD
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm)

Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

2 · 5/6/2011 · Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Chester, MD
≈ 4 × 3½" (11 × 9.2 cm)

Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

3 · 5/6/2011 · Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Chester, MD
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm)

Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

4 · 5/6/2011 · Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Chester, MD
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

5 · 5/6/2011 · Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Chester, MD
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Liquidambar styraciflua description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 May 2016.

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Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

6 · 4/9/2011 · Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis, MD
≈ 6 × 7" (15 × 16 cm)

Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

7 · 3/13/2012 · NJ
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

8 · 4/7/2012 · Ladew Topiary Gardens, Monkton, MD
≈ 17 × 12" (43 × 29 cm)

Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

9 · 4/9/2011 · Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis, MD
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

10 · 8/30/2013 · Chris and Kelley’s, Midlothian, VA
≈ 3½ × 3" (8.9 × 8.3 cm)

Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

11 · 11/8/2015

Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum, Sweetgum, Starleaf-gum)

12 · 9/20/2014 · Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Chester, MD

Range:

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