Saturday, April 9, 2016

American Sweetgum

On 16 March 2016, Erika and I began a long road-trip through the eastern United States. Wildlife watching proved to be poor on this trip—too many rainy days. Our first goal was to visit grandchildren in Dallas, Texas. 

At a roadside rest area along I-35 in Missouri, we found American Sweetgum,  Liquidambar styraciflua. This tree is a common tree of the southeastern states, used for both lumber and urban cultivation. Many homeowners rue sweetgum trees, as the plants drop their copious, spiny fruit across their lawns. Sweetgum sap has been used as an herbal tea and may fight flu (Dean). This author writes that the sap is not very sweet, but it is not as bitter or sour as Black Gum, Nyssa sylvatica.

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