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|
|Redden State Forest, Georgetown1||271||145||108||72|
|3000 Andrews Lake Rd., Frederica||261||111||135||59|
|701 Delaware Ave., Wilmington2||251||133||96||89|
|Dover Air Force Base||249||113||118||72|
|1Rayne Tract 2Brandywine Cemetery|