Liquidambar

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sweet gum

sweet gum

Tree up to 120 ft (40m) with very pointy-looking maple-type leaves that smell like pine when rubbed. Fruits are strange spiky balls (not edible). Bark is the part you want- it has a resinous gum in it’s cracks, and is chewed like chewing gum (similar to pine resin) Contains Shikimic acid, which stops flu viruses from reproducing- highest levels in infertile seeds (the yellow ones without wings). B-vitamins, colds, throat, bowel/colon, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, ringworm. Expectorant (helps clear mucus), anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory. Inner bark and resin are used. If no resin is seen, cut to the inner bark and let sap run out and harden. The leaves have been used also, but are high in tannins. Best to soak several times or steam them to help remove tannins.

Liquidambar

 

a genus of plants of the family Hamamelida-ceae (sometimes attributed to the family Altingiaceae). They are tall deciduous trees with palmatilobate leaves. The small flowers, which are diclinous and lack perianths, are gathered into heads. There are five or six species, distributed in North and South America and in Asia. These trees all exude an aromatic balsam called storax when their bark is damaged. The storax obtained from Liquidambar orientalis and sweet gum (L. styraciflua) is used commercially. Both of these species, which are ornamental, are cultivated on the Black Sea Shore of the Caucasus.

References in periodicals archive ?
If you're lucky enough to have room for a woodland garden, a liquidambar is a must.
For smaller gardens, Liquidambar orientalis is the one to choose.
But back on Elkwood Street, Homer Johnson remembers a time when the trees were kept neatly trimmed more often, when the only kind of shedding from the liquidambars were the star-shaped leaves in autumn, or the spiky seedpods that land on the pavement with a thwack.
The San Fernando Valley has a large population of liquidambar, Lorenzen said, which is native to the southeastern United States, but also does well in Southern California.
Tall trees such as liquidambars, oaks, and sycamores surround it, providing shelter for birds.
In the fall, its foliage still changes to the pink, red, purple and burgundy colors for which classic liquidambars are famous.
Circling roots (shown at left), more common among liquidambars, sycamores, and tupelos, can choke a tree and stunt its growth.