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Sweetgum Tree Facts

By T.M. Samuels ; Updated September 21, 2017
Star shaped leaves adorn the sweetgum tree.

The sweetgum tree, also known as redgum or Liquidambar styraciflua, is a member of the witch hazel family (Hamamelidaceae). It is a fast growing tree with good fall foliage.


Redgum trees are large, over 100 feet tall, and have a cone-shaped crown that rounds when mature. There are star-like leaves, 4 to 7 inches wide, with spiny fruits. It is a deciduous tree, meaning the leaves will fall each autumn.


This tree likes to be grown in full sun to a filtered shade in moist, well-drained soils. It is slightly drought-resistant.


The sweetgum tree is hardy in USDA hardiness zones of 5 to 9.


Propagate the Liquidambar styraciflua via seeds.


Fruits from the sweetgum are spiny and the limbs can drop off easily. It needs a lot of cleanup maintenance and it can grow and spread quickly, leading it to be a pest tree.

Fun Facts

This tree is well-loved by the yellow-bellied sapsucker bird, as is evident by the rows of square holes in the tree bark.



About the Author


T.M. Samuels has been a freelance writer since 1993. She has published works in "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living" and "Mature Years," and is the author of a gardening book. Samuels studied pre-medicine at Berry College.