US National Arboretum


Arboretum Plant Photo Gallery
Answer to the Front Page Picture of the Week Question
for November 3rd - November 21st, 2008

Picture of sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua.  Click here for a larger image.
This is sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua.

Sweetgum, also called redgum, sapgum, starleaf-gum, or bilsted, is a medium to large tree that can grow to 75-80 feet tall with a straight stem and a pyramidal crown, especially when young. The beautifully glossy, star-shaped leaves have a pleasant, sweet fragrance when crushed. Sweetgum leaves turn a spectacular range of colors in the fall, from bright yellow, orange, or red to purplish-black. The bark becomes deeply ridged at about 25-years-old. Sweetgum makes a nice conical park, campus or residential shade tree for large properties when it is young, developing a more oval or rounded canopy as it grows older as several branches become dominant and grow in diameter. Seweetgum is native to North America and hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 5B through 10A. The easily identifiable fruit, popularly nick-named a "space bug", "monkey ball", "bommyknocker, "bir ball, "gum ball" or "sticker ball", is a hard, dry, globose, compound fruit 1-2 inches in diameter and composed of numerous (20-50) capsules. Each capsule has a pair of terminal spikes, and contains one to two small seeds. You can find sweetgum in several of our gardens including the Friendship Garden, Fern Valley, the Gotelli Dwarf and Slow Growing Conifer Collection, and the Introduction Garden. In addition, they can be found throughout the grounds in natural woodlands, and there are many trees of that species providing shade in the National Boxwood Collection.

[Click on the picture to see a larger image].
Be sure to go to the Picture of the Week Archive
or see the links below to view other plant images in our various Photo Galleries.

Go to:
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) Photo Gallery
Award Winning Daylilies Photo Gallery
U.S. National Arboretum Crapemyrtle Introductions Photo Gallery
Glenn Dale Azaleas Photo Gallery
Fall Foliage Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery Introduction

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Last Updated   November 3, 2008 1:50 PM

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