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Liquidambar styraciflua
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Liquidambar styraciflua

Sweet Gum

Description: Liquidambar styraciflua makes a large tree with a broad, pyramidal crown if it's central leader is retained.  It's unique from it's cultivars in that has attractive, corky bark which is an al year round feature. Large, deeply lobed star shaped foliage is a glossy, mid-green throughout the spring and summer. The autumn colour is second to none, ranging from fiery red, orange and yellow through to sumptuous purple, and often stays on the tree into December. It's globed fruit which are known as burr balls grow fresh green in summer. These spikey balls darken in the autumn and can remain on the tree throughout winter.

History: Native to the humid swampy regions of America, where the Spanish herbalist Francisco Hernandez first came across it. He provided the botanical name due to its aromatic gum which he described as Liquidambar. It was first introduced to England in 1681 by the famous British plant collector John Bannister.

Liquidamber Growing Tips: Liquidambar should be planted in full sun to achieve their best colour, in neutral to acid soil that is moist but well-drained. Once the trees mature, they tolerate occasional drought as well as periodic flooding. Protect from frost when young.

Height and Spread (after 10 years): 4.5m x 3.5m.

General attributes

Text Green Foliage
Text Traditional

Ornamental attributes

Medium tree size after 10 years Medium tree size after 10 years
Attractive bark Attractive bark
Autumn colour Autumn colour
Open space planting Open space planting
Prefers acid soil Prefers acid soil
Clay tolerant Clay tolerant
Needs well draining site Needs well draining site
Needs full sun Needs full sun
Replacement prune Replacement prune