The Common North American Sweetgum
Has zig-zag stout twigs; has mottled "camouflage" exfoliating (peeling) bark (green, white, tan); has spherical multiple achenes with long stalks (fruit balls); has leaf scar nearly surrounds the bud; has numerous raised bundle scars; has buds are large and cone-shaped.
Leaves: alternate, simple, long-stalked, palmately lobed.
Bark: smooth, whitish and mottled; peeling off.
Fruit: nutlets crowded in ball.