Liquidambar styraciflua

(Photo by Jessica Bartek)

View the Location on Campus

Taxonomy (1)

Classification: Angiosperm, dicot
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Common name: Sweetgum 

General Information (1,2)

Region of Origin: United States
USDA Plants Hardiness Zones: 5-9 
Growth Habit: Tree

  • Size: 100 feet tall
  • Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
  • Flowering: Early spring

Diagnostic Characteristics

Leaves (2)

  • Arrangement: Alternate
  • Simple/Compound: Simple
  • Shape: Lobed (star-shaped)
  • Other: 4-7 inches; serrate

(Photo by Jessica Bartek)

Stem/Bark (2)

  • Color: grayish-brown
  • Texture: ridged and furrowed

(Photo by Jessica Bartek)

Flower (2)

  • Perfect/Imperfect: Imperfect (monoecious)
  • Size: 1/2 inch (female), 3-4 inches (male)
  • Inflorescence type: Head (female), Raceme (male)

Fruit (1,2)

  • Fruit type: Capsule
  • Size: 1-1.5 inches
  • Color: Brown

(Photo by Jessica Bartek)

Horticultural Information (1,2)

  • Light: Full sun to part shade
  • pH: Slightly acidic
  • Maintenance: Easy to care for
  • Landscape Uses: Ornamental, shade tree, street tree, windbreak tree

Interesting Facts (1)

  • Sweetgum is able to quickly extend a population across the land, which could lead it to become a nuisance.


1) Christman, S. (June, 1997 06). Liquidambar styraciflua. Retrieved from
2) Dirr, M. (1998). Liquidambar styraciflua. (5th ed.). Champaign, Illinois: Stipes Publishing L.L.C

Prepared by Courtney Sayre as a course requirement for BIOL 3630/5630, Spring 2013
Edited by Jessica Bartek