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Sweet Gum -   Liquidambar styraciflua


Zone 5-9

Height 75-150'


Habitat:  Grows best in full sun.  Tolerates a wide variety of soils and can grow well in poor soils.  The roots on this tree are aggressive and the sweet gum often spreads through suckers.  Can survive very dry conditions. Can tolerate some salt. Will take over abandon fields. Excellent plant for moist areas. Sweet gum grows 75-150 feet high.  The trunk diameter to 3-4'.  A noted tree of the south, has dangling seed balls and star shaped leaves.

Leaves:  Distinctive star shaped leaves, They are fragrant when crushed, maybe 5 or7 lobed, margins are finely saw-toothed, 5 to 7" across, waxy and turning red in the fall. Some leaves on sweet gum look very maple like.

Flowers:  The flowers come out after the leaves, in April or May, female flower is a 1/2" ball, forms singly, on a 2" stalk, male flowers on a 3" stem. 

Fruit:  Fruit are dry globes, 1.5", long stemmed, pointy and stay on the tree throughout the winter months. Can be a problem in a lawn as the pods are spiny. Don't step on them barefoot! Seed eaten by birds, squirrels and chipmunks.

Winter Buds:  Small hairy tipped.

Bark: Dull gray brown, furrowed, ridged, scaly on older trees. Younger trunks smooth silvery gray, warty becoming rough with age. Twigs have corky ridges.

Wood:  Sweet gum is used for fuel, boxes, veneer, woodenware, toys, boats, railroad ties, shingles and interior of houses. It takes a high shine, sometimes called "satin walnut".

Distribution:  Throughout the eastern part of the United States.  It can be found as far south as Florida to east Texas. North to Pennsylvania to central Michigan, southern Illinois, boot heel of Missouri.  Grows well in zones 5-9.

Other:  Name comes from the sap which some chew for gum. Sweet gum is a widely used tree for landscape.

Cultivars:  Gumball is a smaller form, Moraine a hardier cultivar, Varigata a colorful leaf.



To buy Sweet Gum seedlings by PHONE: We're glad to take your order by phone. For your convenience, we have a toll free number

  800 568-9179.  Phone orders can be charged to American Express, VISA, Discover or MasterCard accounts.

To buy Sweet Gum seedling by MAIL: For those who wish to order by mail or prefer to send a check, send orders to: Porcupine Hollow Farm   8593 W. Old State Rd.  Central Lake, Mi. 49622

To order Sweet Gum seedlings using our secure shopping cart: 

Click on link below and Sweet Gum will be listed alphabetically under Gum on our hardwoods pricing page.

               click to order sweet gum

Shipping & Handling: Most orders are shipped UPS. Make sure we have your street address and a daytime phone number.

Please include 20% shipping and packaging with your order.

    Minimum shipping $15    

Michigan Residents add 6% sales tax.