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Sweet Gum Tree

The sweet gum tree is one which has a long history and many uses. Its Latin name is liquidambar styraciflua and it is a deciduous shade tree predominantly found along the East Coast of the US. It can also be found in some Western states and Central America. Deep moist soil is ideal for these trees. Sweet gum tree grows very fast and can be as tall as 80 feet. Many grow up to touch even 120 feet. The tree normally grows straight up and has a spiny fruit. These needles can be really sharp and if you come across them on the road, make sure you do not drive over them. They can puncture your car tires.

But it takes the tree anywhere between 15 to 20 years to begin flowering or producing fruits. In spring small clusters of flowers make an appearance on this tree. The sap of the sweet gum tree can be used in lotions for the treatment of skin ailments. This sap also has the power to induce drowsiness in those who inhale its fumes. The sap is extracted by means of tapping the trees. The trunk of the tree itself makes good lumber and can be used in furniture. It is a popular choice for veneers, flooring and interior trim too. The oldest known sweet gum tree is though to have exited millions of years ago.

Very often sweet gum trees are used in reforestation and land reclamation projects. Its ability to grow quickly and resilience against insects and diseases makes it a good choice for such projects. The sweet gum can also provide large areas of shade in places they are planted. Central Park in New York is one famous habitat of the sweet gum tree. Its leaves can be said to be star-shaped. The trunk of this tree may measure up to five feet in diameter.

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