Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
Sweetgum is a large, narrowly pyramidal tree with glossy, star-shaped leaves, corky bark, and spectacular fall color, often turning shades of red, purple, yellow, and orange all on the same tree. It grows to 60 to 70 feet when mature. A great shade tree, it is good to plant in large, sunny, moist areas such as lawns and parks. The flowers are not ornamentally significant. The brown fruits, which are spiny rounded structures that release seeds, ripen in fall and remain on the tree until spring, and may be a nuisance. Its name comes from the tree's fragrant, gummy resin that has been used as chewing gum, incense, and a balm.
Illinois native species.