Family: Hamamelidaceae

Scientific Name: Liquidambar styracifua

Common Name: American Sweet Gum, Sweet Gum


Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styracifua) is a large deciduous shade tree. Reported not to be hardy to the northern part of zone #5.

Plant TypeTrees Deciduous
Hardiness Zone5-9
Soil & Siteaverage
Temperaturehas withstood -28 degrees F in Illinois (USA)
Fruitspikey, woody seed balls (syncarp of dehiscent capsules)
Leavesgreen, 5 lobed, palmately lobed, lobes cut about 1/2 way, red to burgundy fall color
Stemscorky bark
Dimensions60-70 by 2/3 spread (HS)
Native SiteSpecies plant native to southern and eastern USA
Cultivar OriginIntroduced 1661
Misc Facts"Genus name comes from the Latin words liquidus meaning liquid and ambar meaning amber as two species produce a fragrant resin. Specific epithet means flowing storax. The common name of sweet gum refers to an aromatic balsam or gum that exudes from wounds to the tree". (#144)
Notes & Reference#01-Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (Michael Dirr), #93-North American Landscape Trees (Arthur Lee Jacobson), #144-Missouri Botanical Gardens web site (
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