Botany Photo of the Day
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Liquidambar styraciflua 'Lane Roberts'

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Lane Roberts'
Liquidambar styraciflua 'Lane Roberts'

This photograph taken in mid-September of last year is of the same tree that produced this leaf (abstract).

With a quick glance, you might mistake sweet gum for a maple due to a similar leaf shape. However, if you can't recall while taking a closer look that maples have opposite leaves and sweet gums have alternate leaves, you can always look for fruit – you won't mistake that for a maple!


Around here in East Texas people dislike them for the seed balls that roll underfoot in winter. Despite that Liquidamber is one of my favorite trees. In spring they are one of the last to bloom and thus a harbringer of when spring is "really" here. Summer brings nice green shade. In autumn the color is fantastic and shows quite a bit of variation from yellow to red to burgendy. Plus the combination of seed balls and starry leaves are reminescent of stars and planets. Winter brings those dratted sweet gum balls that the gold finches come all the way down here to feast on. To me, all in all a most perfect tree!

Green is gray and black
Keen white composite like crack
Gene panic attack?

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Lane Roberts' - Z5 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths
Liquidambar styraciflua 'Lane Roberts' - Z6-9 - A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk

Ouch ouch ouch - I remember stepping on the seed balls all year round as a kid - they hurt!

British (Hillier Nurseries) introduction.

"A selected clone and one of the most reliable for its autumn colour, which is rich blackish-crimson-red. Bark comparatively smooth."

--The Hillier Manual of Trees & Shrubs.

Being grown in North America by 1971.

Such interesting info for not bot!
ps: "burgundy", "reminiscence"

If you let your eyes cross while staring at the side-by-side pics above, you get a really wild pseudo-3D effect.

If the two above pictures look side-by-side to you, your eyes really must be getting crossed!

Specimen shown looks like the spot is too dry for it. Turf coming right in around it probably doesn't help.

The sap from the liquidambar tree is collected from scored branches and burned like copal, to which it is related.

Has anyone ever seen a winged form of liquidambar? I found one growing by the lake in Prospect Park Brooklyn, not in a location where you would expect a specimen tree. I thought it was diseased because the bark was exploding out in all directions. I later found a tree a quarter mile away that had a few branches with winged bark. Is this genetic or disease?

Its pretty common for Liquidambar styraciflua to have corky "wings" on its branches

I think my liguidambar tree has a fungus/mold disease. It has small black spots on some leaves & there are batches of white that look like they are in the bark. Can you help know what to use to get rid of this & save my tree. Thank you very much.

Jane - please post on the forums - there is a link right above "Post a comment".

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