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Liquidambar styraciflua

Both common and native in Delaware, sweetgum prefers wetter sites but will grow on many soils. Easily identified by its five-pointed, star-shaped leaves and its spiny “monkey balls,” it is commonly planted in urban areas although its roots require a large area. Fall color can range from yellow to maroon to purple—all on one tree. Its wood is difficult to dry and has historically been used for low-value products such as peach baskets and ice cream spoons.

Sweetgum has leaves shaped like a six-point star missing its bottom point. The reddish-brown fruit (“monkey ball”) matures in October, and persists until early the next year.

Sweetgum – Liquidambar styraciflua
701 Delaware Ave.¹, Wilmington, DE2581379893
193 W Park Place, Newark, DE26113710287
Redden State Forest², Ellendale, DE27114510872
 1Brandywine Cemetery 2Rayne Tract