sweet gum

(redirected from sweet gums)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

sweet gum:

see witch hazelwitch hazel,
common name for some members of the Hamamelidaceae, a family of trees and shrubs found mostly in Asia. The family includes the large genus (Corylopsis) of winter hazels, and the witch hazels (genus Hamamelis), sweet gums (Liquidambar
..... Click the link for more information.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
Enlarge picture
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.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz


1. A moderately high-density hardwood of the eastern and southern US; whitish to gray-green in color and of uniform texture; used for low-grade veneer, plywood, and rough cabinet work.
2. Any of a class of colloidal substances that are soluble or swell in water, exuded by or prepared from plants; sticky when moist.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Egg cases, located on 13 species of plants including eight shrubs and trees (Table 1), were placed mostly on woody plants (91.3%), especially on sweet gum (34.6%) and loblolly pine (29.9%), the most common and tallest trees.
No oothecae were found on Japanese honeysuckle or Virginia creeper, both common vines, and none on these common herbs: hemp dog-bane, panic or foxtail grasses, wool grass, or giant plume grass Woody N % Total Mean ht (m) Sweet gum 147 34.6 1.6 Lobl.
"Through the use of modem scientific drying methods, sweet gum's seasoning difficulties have been largely overcome," Peattie writes.
In the United States, sweet gum ranges from Connecticut south to Florida, and west to Illinois, Oklahoma and Eastern Texas, as well as in Mexico and Guatemala.
Sweet gum, red gum, sap gum, alligator-tree, alligator wood, hazel pine, incense tree, liquidambar, satin walnut, star-leaved gum.
So it is with American red gum, also known as sweet gum. At some point this tree earned the name satin walnut in the United Kingdom.
The botanical name for American sweet gum is derived from the Latin liquidis, meaning fluid or liquid, and the Arabic ambar, referring to the sweet-smelling gum which exudes from the tree.
The heartwood and sapwood of sweet gum are marketed separately.
Although sweet gum is not widely used, one veneer salesperson said he detected an increased interest in the wood in the last few years.
The many uses for sweet gum include furniture, interior trim, doors and paneling and interior joinery.