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Liquidambar styraciflua - L.
                 
Common Name Sweet Gum, Red Gum, American Sweet Gum, Red Sweet Gum,
Family Hamamelidaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Swampy woods which are often inundated annually[43] and on rich bottom lands[82].
Range Eastern N. America - Connecticut to Florida, west to Texas and Illinois.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Summary
Bloom Color: Green, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Pyramidal.

Liquidambar styraciflua Sweet Gum, Red Gum, American Sweet Gum, Red Sweet Gum,


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Ikmo-ned
Liquidambar styraciflua Sweet Gum, Red Gum, American Sweet Gum, Red Sweet Gum,
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Luis_Fern%C3%A1ndez_Garc%C3%ADa
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Liquidambar styraciflua is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats
Woodland Garden Canopy;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Gum.

A chewing gum and a stabilizer for cakes etc is obtained from the resin[102, 105, 149, 159]. It can also be chewed to sweeten the breath[183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiseptic;  Astringent;  Carminative;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Parasiticide;  Poultice;  Salve;  
Sedative;  Stimulant;  Vulnerary.

A resin obtained from the trunk of the tree (see 'Uses notes' below) is antiseptic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, parasiticide, poultice, salve, sedative, stimulant, vulnerary[21, 46, 57, 61, 149, 171, 213, 218, 222, 238]. It is chewed in the treatment of sore throats, coughs, asthma, cystitis, dysentery etc[222, 238, 257]. Externally, it is applied to sores, wounds, piles, ringworm, scabies etc[222, 238]. The resin is an ingredient of 'Friar's Balsam', a commercial preparation based on Styrax benzoin that is used to treat colds and skin problems[238]. The mildly astringent inner bark is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and childhood cholera[222].
Other Uses
Adhesive;  Gum;  Incense;  Parasiticide;  Resin;  Teeth;  Wood.

The aromatic resin 'Storax' is obtained from the trunk of this tree[46, 57, 61, 64]. It forms in cavities of the bark and also exudes naturally. It is harvested in autumn[181, 238]. Production can be stimulated by beating the trunk in the spring[171, 238]. The resin has a wide range of uses including medicinal, incense, perfumery, soap and as an adhesive[149]. It is also chewed and used as a tooth cleaner[183]. Wood - heavy, fairly hard, fine-grained, not strong, light, tough, resilient. It weighs about 37lb per cubic foot[227]. The wood takes a high polish and can be stained then used as a cherry, mahogany or walnut substitute[171]. It is also used for furniture, flooring, fruit dishes, veneer etc[46, 61, 82, 149, 227].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Aggressive surface roots possible, Specimen, Street tree. Prefers a moist but not swampy loam in a sunny sheltered position[11, 200]. Succeeds in light shade[188]. Prefers a neutral to acid soil[130]. Plants grow poorly in shallow soils overlying chalk[188]. Young plants are susceptible to damage from late frosts. A highly ornamental plant, especially in its autumn foliage[1, 227], it grows well in Cornwall[59] and S. England but does not do well in the north[98]. A fast-growing and long lived tree, it is fairly free from pests and diseases and has the potential to be a re-afforestation tree in cutover lands[227]. Trees commence flowering when about 20 - 25 years old[229]. The leaves emit a balsam-like fragrance when they fall in the autumn, this is retained until the leaves are quite withered[245]. Plants in the north of their range do not produce much resin[183]. Resists honey fungus[88]. This species resents root disturbance, young plants should be pot-grown and be placed in their permanent positions as soon as possible[200]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Propagation
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Harvest the seed capsules at the end of October or November, dry in a warm place and extract the seed by shaking the capsule. Stored seed requires 1 - 3 months stratification and sometimes takes 2 years to germinate. Sow it as early in the year as possible. Germination rates are often poor. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse for their first winter. Since they resent root disturbance, it is best to plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of their second year and give them some protection from cold for their first winter outdoors[K]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Suckers in early spring. Layering in October/November. Takes 12 months.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Liquidambar formosanaFormosan Gum, Chinese Sweet Gum, Formosa Sweet Gum03
Liquidambar orientalisOriental Sweet Gum23
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Expert comment
 
Author
L.
Botanical References
1143200
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Steve Stevenson steve_st@surfanytime.co.uk Thu Jun 22 2006
Observed (I presume stryaciflua) growing in happy profusion alongside a busy bac-road in Copeland NW Cumbria. apparently indifferent to the exhaust fumes and the erratic climate (boing charitable to my county!)
Elizabeth H.
Eckart von Reitzenstein Tue Oct 2 2007
I am working with the German development cooperation in a forest program in Honduras. Anyone can help us with information on Styrax production?
Elizabeth H.
Wade Small Sat Aug 22 2009
Where can i get this herb to buy.Thanks
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Subject : Liquidambar styraciflua  

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