Liquidambar styraciflua Sweet Gum

Description: Liquidambar styraciflua makes a large tree with a broad, pyramidal crown if it's central leader is retained.  Its unique from it's cultivars in that has attractive, corky bark which is an all 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.

Attributes

  • Deciduous
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • M Size: Medium
  • Tree shape: Standard
  • Open space planting
  • Needs well-draining site
  • Attractive bark
  • Replacement prune
  • Autumn colour
  • Prefers acid soil
  • Prefers full sun

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Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’

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Handsome tree with long narrow lobed leaves. Crimson in autumn. Height after 10yrs 4.5m x 3.5m.

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Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Lane Roberts’

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Shining maple-like green leaves turning rich, blackish crimson-red in autumn. Height after 10 yrs up to 6m.

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Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Palo Alto’

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The leaves are long, narrowly lobed and the bright, intense autumn colours are superb and very persistent.

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Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Silver King’

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Green star-shaped leaves, edged in white margins. Autumn red/purple colours. Upright growth, typical corky bark.

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