METROPOLITAN NATURALIST
DECIDUOUS / SEED BEARING / HARDWOOD
American Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

The sweetgum tree is easily recognized by the star-shaped leaves and the spiky, hard, round, 2-3 inch diameter
fruit. This native woodland tree is also grown as an ornamental lawn or garden tree. Young branches often have two
or four corky "wings" projecting from them.

The hardened sap from this tree was once collected from wounds or by scraping off the bark and taking the oozing
resin. This resin, or gum, was used as a chewing gum. Hence the tree's name, "sweet gum".
American Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
Typical five-lobed leaves of a Sweetgum tree at Patuxent Research Refuge.
The round fruit hangs on a Sweetgum tree through the winter at Patapsco State Park.
The hard spiky fruit litters the ground under a Sweetgum at Patuxent Research Refuge.
The trunk of a Sweetgum tree, showing the bark of a mature tree. The "hairy" vines climbing the trunk
are Poison Ivy.
Corky, or "winged", bark on a young Sweetgum in the winter at Patuxent Wildlife Research
Refuge. The green leaves belong to a Honeysuckle vine growing on the Sweetgum tree.