Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Planting Site:

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.

Liquidambar styracifluaLiquidambar styracifluaLiquidambar styraciflua


Street: Appropriate for restricted size planting sites; recommended by the City of Chicago Urban Tree Planting List
Park/Residential: Appropriate for landscaped planting sites including public parks, residential property, golf courses, cemeteries, etc.
Legacy: For plantings with an expected life span of more than 60 years; retained 50 percent or more climate suitability in models for the decade 2080
N/R +35 yrs: Not recommended for plantings with an expected life span of more than 35 years