Sweetgum is sometimes called redgum, probably because of the red color of the older heartwood and its red fall leaves. Sweetgum grows from Connecticut southward throughout the East to central Florida and eastern Texas and is a very common commercial timber species of the South. Sweetgum is easy to identify in both summer and in winter. Look for the star-shaped leaf as foliage grows in the Spring and look for the dried seed balls under the tree (see illustration).
The trunk is normally
straight and does not divide into double or multiple
leaders and side branches are small in diameter on
young trees, creating a pyramidal form. The bark
becomes deeply ridged at about 25-years-old.
Sweetgum makes a nice conical park, campus or
residential shade tree for large properties when it is
young, developing a more oval or rounded canopy as
it grows older as several branches become dominant
and grow in diameter.
Sweetgum Leaf Silhouette
Introduction to Sweetgum, USFS Fact Sheet ST358
Start with the Tree Finder if you are not sure what kind of tree you have!