Sweet Gum

The American sweetgum, or sweetgum tree, is a deciduous tree native to the south-eastern United States, belonging to the Altingiaceae family. Known for its star-shaped leaves and fragrant gum resin, it can reach impressive heights of 60 to 100 feet (18 to 30 meters) with a symmetrical crown.

The Appearance

A large deciduous tree with a straight trunk and a conical to rounded crown. It has star-shaped leaves that turn vibrant red, orange, and yellow in autumn.


The Produce

The tree produces unique spherical clusters of woody capsules, often called "gumballs," which contain small seeds.


The Flowers

Produces small, inconspicuous flowers in spring, followed by spiky, spherical fruit capsules.


The Leaves

Each leaf typically has five to seven pointed lobes radiating from a central point, resembling a star or a maple leaf.


The Bark

The bark is gray and deeply furrowed, becoming more rugged with age.


The Habitat

Prefers moist, well-drained soils and full sun. Commonly found in parks and along streets.


The Ecology

Provides habitat and food for various wildlife, including birds and insects. The seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals.


The Culture

Valued for its striking autumn foliage and ornamental appeal. The wood is used in furniture making.


Fun Facts

The Sweet Gum tree is known for its aromatic resin, which was used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes.

The Connection To Burton Constable

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