* Leaves star shaped, toothed, 5-7 lobes.
Fragrant when crushed. 5-8".
* Corky "wings" on branchlets.
* Bud scales fringed.
* Bark grayish, grooved when mature.
* Flowers in spherical heads.
* Fruits in dry, brown, prickly, hanging balls.
* Height: 50-120'.
* Flowers April-May.
* Fruits September on.
* Habitat: Wet woods.
* Range: Southern New England southward.
* The name "sweetgum" comes from the gumlike substance, liquidambar,
that oozes from wounds in the tree's bark and is chewed by some people.
The gum is sweet smelling but bitter tasting.
* An early reference to sweetgum comes from Don Bernal Diaz
del Castillo, a witness to the ceremonies between Cortez and
Montezuma in the early 1500's. He wrote of Montezuma, "After
he had dined, they presented to him three little canes highly
ornamented, containing liquidambar, mixed with an herb they call
* Twenty extinct species of sweetgum are known, and the oldest
is over 55 million years old.