Nat. Ord. (Natural Order) Platanaceï¿½. Lin. Syst. (Linnean System) Monï¿½cia, Polyandria. According to Michaux* (* N. A. Sylva, i. 315.), the Sweet gum is one of our most extensively diffused trees. On the seashore it is seen as far north as Portsmouth; and it extends as far south as the Gulf of Mexico and the Isthmus of Darien. In many of the southern states it is one of the commonest trees of the forest; it is rarely seen, however, along the banks of the Hudson (except in New Jersey), or other large streams of New York. It is not unlike the maple in general appearance, and its palmate, five-lobed leaves are in outline much like the Sugar maple, though darker in color and firmer in texture. It may also be easily distinguished from that tree, by the curious appearance of its secondary branches, which have a peculiar roughness, owing to the bark attaching itself in plates edgewise to the trunk, instead of laterally, as in the usual manner. The fruit is globular, somewhat resembling that of the buttonwood, but much rougher, and bristling with points. The male and female catkins appear on different branches of the same tree early in spring.
[Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum)]