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A picture of a Sweet Gum

Sweet Gum

Liquidambar styraciflua

Also known as

American Red Gum, American Sweet Gum, Bilsted, Copalm Balsam, Red Gum, Satin Walnut, American-Storax, Alligator-Wood, Red-Gum, Sweet-Gum

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) in Mellon Park, Pittsburgh 01 by Cbaile19 (CC0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Sweet Gum

Large Sweet Gum tree against blue sky, New Jersey
Sweet gum tree fruits in winter against blue sky
A photo of Sweet Gum
A photo of Sweet Gum

Sweet Gum Overview

A popular deciduous tree grown for their maple-like leaves with a serrated-margin, brilliant and long-lasting autumn colour. Their flowers and fruits are inconspicuous. It is often planted as an attractive border or hedge or to form beautiful avenues. It is a feature plant during autumn in any large garden providing shade in warm summers and allowing sun through bare branches in winter. After an injury to the stem, a red gum-like fluid appears that lead to the common name liquid amber.

Common problems with Sweet Gum

Problem free

    How to harvest Sweet Gum

    Harvest fruit in Autumn for seeds.

    How to propagate Sweet Gum


    Small 2 seeds within each capsule, from a spiked ball. Harvest the fruit in Autumn after they turned from green to dark brown. Allow fruit to dry (5 - 7 days) before planting.


    Propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings. Keep moist while rooting.


    Propagate by budding in spring or from seed in autumn.

    Special features of Sweet Gum

    Autumn colour

    Orange, red or purple leaves cover the tree before it drops.

    Hedge plant

    Planted in rows acting as a wind breaker.

    Attracts birds

    Attractive leaves

    Maple-like palmate leaves.

    Other uses of Sweet Gum

    Foliage, shade, timber. Intense scarlet, purple, and yellow autumn foliage.


    Multi Stemmed Trees

    With a little formative work these trees can be trained into multi- stemmed specimens.

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