Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua


Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Altingiaceae
Genus: Liquidambar
Species: L. styraciflua

Liquidambar styraciflua

The most obvious attribute of the Sweetgum, is a leaf that looks like star -- However, the stars range from kind of blocky to deeply lobed. The other attribute, known quickly by anyone who has an American Sweetgum in his yard, is the stickery "mine-ball" seed" - a great weapon or a nuisance under the heal.

As a camera toting teenager, I called them "Kix ball trees" - with Kix referencing the cereal, which in turn referenced the fact that a Sweetgum in fall can showcase almost any color...all at once, and spangled throughout the form.

In the wild, Sweet gum tend to grow thin and tall, and will along the roadside, take on the form of a tall colonnade. (they lack the bulk of either oak or maple)

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