American sweetgum Facts

American sweetgum Facts
American sweetgum is deciduous tree that belongs to the witch hazel family. It can be found in the eastern parts of North America and tropical parts of Mexico and Central America. American sweetgum grows on moist, well-drained soil in areas that provide plenty of sun. People cultivate American sweetgum as a source of high-quality wood and in ornamental purposes.
Interesting American sweetgum Facts:
American sweetgum can reach 60 to 100 feet in height. Trunk can reach around 3 feet in diameter. Young trees have narrow, pyramidal crown. Older trees can be recognized by rounded or oval crowns.
American sweetgum has dark grey bark covered with scaly ridges. Strong root system of American sweetgum can damage sidewalks and curbs in the urban areas.
American sweetgum develops star-shaped leaves composed of 5 to 7 lobes. Leaves are finely toothed on the edges and alternately arranged on the branches. Green color of the leaves changes into red, yellow or purple during the autumn.
American sweetgum is monoecious plant. It produces individual male and female flowers on the same tree. American sweetgum blooms from March to May, but flowers can remain on the tree until the winter.
American sweetgum produces pale green flowers arranged in dense clusters. Flowers are designed for the pollination by wind.
Fruit of American sweetgum consists of 40 to 60 capsules arranged in the form of spiny balls. They are filled with numerous seeds. Planting of American sweetgum in some areas is prohibited because of the fruit that creates unpleasant sensation when person accidentally step on it. That is why people often cultivate fruit-less varieties of American sweetgum in their yards.
American sweetgum starts to produce fruit at the age of 15 to 20 years.
American sweetgum propagates via seed, stem cuttings and grafting.
American sweetgum is important source of food for the wild animals. Squirrels, chipmunks, blue jays and cardinals like to eat seed of this plant.
Fruit of American sweetgum are used for the preparation of various floral arrangements and other ornamental items that are especially popular during the Christmas.
Name "sweetgum" refers to the brownish-yellow sap that leaks from the bark of the injured tree. Incisions made in the bark trigger release of sap.
Native Americans consumed sap of American sweetgum as a chewing gum and used it in treatment of various disorders.
Hard, durable wood of American sweetgum, also known as Italian mahogany or walnut satin, is used in the industry of furniture, barrels, plywood, floorings, boxes, railroad ties and crates. It can be also used as a substitute for ebony and as a source of firewood.
Bark and root of American sweetgum were used in treatment of diarrhea, fever and skin disorders in the past.
American sweetgum can survive up to 400 years in the wild.

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