Liquidamber … the name alone is intriguing, conjuring up images of its lovely autumn colouring – liquid amber, russet, red and purple.
A native of East USA, it was given its name because of its aromatic gum which, in Mexico, is used in adhesives and perfumes.
Of all the deciduous trees which colour our autumn days, Liquidamber styraciflua (common name, sweetgum) is the one with the most long-lasting appeal.
I love the leaf shape, five-lobed and maple-like.
I love the glossiness of the leaves.
I like its fresh green colour in spring and summer.
I like how the tree grows straight and tall… confident and sure of itself.
But most of all I long for the autumn days when it will outshine every other tree.
What Liquidambers like:
- Sun or partial shade
- Lime-free soil – acid or neutral
- Moist but well-drained soil
- Room to grow
- Ultimately can grow to 20 metres in the UK and Ireland
- Generally pest and disease free
- Conical in shape when young; more rounded later
- Green leaves in spring
- Spectacular autumn colour
- The fruits (“gum balls”) are spiky brown globes which hang on the tree in winter.
It makes a lovely specimen tree with its own beauty in spring and summer … then watch out for the fireworks when Autumn arrives!
(All photography mine; feel free to use any of Jardin’s images but please credit and link back)
- Ten Reasons to Plant Trees. (jardindesign.org)
- Expert reveals why autumn leaves more colourful than usual (irishtimes.com)