A small group of highly attractive, deciduous trees, grown for their rich displays of autumn colour. The tree is named after the amber-like resin that exudes naturally from the trunk.
Botanical Name: Liquidambar
Common Names: Sweet gum
Foliage: Deciduous, glossy-green, 5 lobed leaves (similar to that of a maple). Brilliant autumn foliage, in shades of orange, crimson and purple. Attractive corky bark on mature trees.
Blossom: Inconspicuous green-yellow flowers, followed by decorative spiky fruits.
Flowering Period: March
Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (loam, clay or sand). Acid or neutral pH.
Conditions: Full sun or partial shade, in a south, east or west facing aspect.
Habit: Rounded or conical.
Origin: North America
Hardiness: Fully hardy in the UK.
Easy to grow. Thrives in moist but well-drained, lime-free soil, in sun or semi shade. Plant in full sun for the best autumn colour.
Makes a good a specimen tree. Ideal for woodland gardens.
A robust tree that needs very little care or attention once established.
Not neccessary, except to remove any crossing, rubbing, dead or damaged wood when dormant (between autumn and early spring).
Can be affected by honey fungus.
Increase from semi-hardwood cuttings.
Liquidambar styraciflua forms a large tree with maple-like leaves. Brilliant autumn colour. Height to 60ft (18m) or more. Cultivars include:
Liquidambar orientalis (Oriental sweet gum) slow growing and suited to smaller, sheltered gardens. The finely divided foliage has excellent maroon-red autumn colour. Height to 8m (26ft) or more.