Uses for a Sweet Gum Tree. The most interesting compound that comes from this tree is shikimic acid which is a main ingredient in the commercial manufacture of the drug, Tamiflu®. Fantastic Facts About Black Tupelo Trees. Sweet gum trees (Liquidambar styraciflua) are a common sight in the eastern United States and in several Central American and southern Mexican regions. The vicious seed pods have impaled many a forager and has done much to ruin the Sweet Gum’s reputation. You painfully find them with your feet. Check out some interesting facts about this tree that's known for its colorful foliage. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 24, 2019: Hi, Adrienne. There is an entire forest, over 80,000 years old, in Utah, made up of one single tree with one massive underground root system, called a Quaking Aspen. Liquidambar styraciflua, more commonly called sweetgum, is a beautiful ornamental shade tree, turning traffic-stopping shades of bright red and orange in autumn. The sweet gum tree has very distinctive star shaped leaves The name alligator bark comes from the appearance of the rough, ridged gray bark which grows sideways on the twigs and branches. Additional Resources on the Sweetgum Tree. ; Sweetgum Plant Guide – An excellent guide for sweetgum trees on the USDA website. ; American Sweetgum – A wonderful article about the sweetgum tree on the Yale Nature Walk website. The only edible part of the tree is the dried sap which makes a fragrant, bitter chewing gum. Description of sweet gum tree: The sweet gum has a pyramidal habit when young, eventually becoming rounded and tall -- up to more than 100 feet. The Sweet Gum tree is the sand spur of the forest. Sweet gums are large trees that bear alternate, sharply (three- to seven-lobed) palmate leaves.The plants produce upright spikes of greenish male flowers and round drooping clusters of female flowers on the same tree.The fruits are spiny dark brown balls known as an aggregate of capsules.Each capsule contains several small seeds, and the fruits often persist through the winter. The sweet gum grows in a long list of states, thinning to a more patchy distribution as it spreads southward into Mexico and Central America. The name Liquidambar is from the Latin liquidus, meaning fluid or liquid and the Arabic ambar, referring to amber, both being references to the sap. Interesting Facts Liquidambar styraciflua is commonly referred to as sweetgum because of the brownish yellow sap it produces when the bark is cut. 16-20 Interesting Facts About Trees 16. The Sweet Gum Tree Harvesting seeds that hurt Street Trees. Learned a lot about the tree from your detailed article with interesting facts. Stems often have corky and attractive wings during the second year. So, there's much to be said for research into modern medicinal uses of this tree. Popular Gardening Topics About the Sweetgum Tree – Discover more information and facts about the sweetgum tree on the NC State website. Great photos. Black tupelo, also called gum tree, is one of the most beautiful native trees of North America. Because a sweet gum tree may grow 80 feet tall and hose-end sprayers typically have a maximum good-pressure range of up to 30 feet, spraying a mature sweet gum adequately is difficult for a homeowner. Yes, it is nice here right now, especially on a sunny day. It is best known, however, for the huge number of brown, hard, spiny seedpods it drops in the fall and winter. The American Sweet Gum Tree looks beautiful with colorful leaves in autumn. The bark is grayish brown and deeply furrowed. Perhaps it is time for some rehabilitation. 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