Plant of the Week: Native Sweet Gum

This tree offers amazing support for wildlife!

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We love Liquidambar styraciflua, aka Native Sweet Gum, for its stunning fall foliage - offering maroon, pink, orange, yellow, and bright red leaves - and for how it supports wildlife.

Did you know Sweet Gum is a host plant for more than 30 species of butterflies and moths? Not to mention its spring flowers provide nectar to ruby-throated hummingbirds and its notorious fruiting clusters known as 'gum balls' provide food for 25 species of birds, chipmunks, and squirrels. If you're looking for a native tree that supports wildlife this one can't be beat!

This is a large tree, reaching 60 ft with a 40 ft spread. It prefers full sun and can tolerate moist soils. Native Sweet Gums would make an excellent shade tree in a lawn or park. The fruiting clusters or 'gum balls' remain on the tree during winter, which can add winter appeal, along with its corky bark and winged stems.