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NAME: Sweetgum

LATIN NAME / FAMILY:  Liquidambar styraciflua / Hamamelidaceae

OTHER COMMON NAME(S):  American Sweetgum

CONDITIONS: sun-partial shade
 

PARTS:

EDIBLEcid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

TASTE

RAW/COOK

SEASON

All

 

 

 

 

Shoots

 

 

 

 

Leaves

       

Stalk/Stem

 

 

 

 

Buds

       

Flowers

 

 

 

 

Fruits

 

 

 

 

Pods

 

 

   

Seeds

 

 

 

 

Nuts

 

 

 

 

Roots

 

 

 

 

Bark

 

 

 

 

Sap

slightly bitter

 RAW/COOK

 early/Spring

 

PORTION: small

 

COMMENT: Sap/Resin. A chewing gum and a stabilizer for cakes etc is obtained from the resin. It can also be chewed to sweeten the breath.(1)  Slashed to the cambium, sap will leak out and harden. The resulting gum can be chewed.(2) Foraging Texas says that seeds and raw leaf buds are also edible, (4) but not PFAF or EatTheWeeds.com.  

 

CAUTION:

 

NUTRITION/MEDICINAL:  Antiseptic;  Astringent;  Carminative;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Parasiticide;  Poultice;  Salve; Sedative;  Stimulant;  Vulnerary.(1) Nutritional Value: seeds contain calories and protein. Other uses: leaves can be mashed into a poultice for antibiotic and sting-bite relief.(4)

 

LOOK-A-LIKES:  

 

POISONOUS LOOK-A-LIKES: 

 

OTHER USES: Adhesive;  Gum;  Incense;  Parasiticide;  Resin;  Teeth;  Wood. The aromatic resin 'Storax' is obtained from the trunk of this tree. It forms in cavities of the bark and also exudes naturally. It is harvested in autumn. Production can be stimulated by beating the trunk in the spring. The resin has a wide range of uses including medicinal, incense, perfumery, soap and as an adhesive. It is also chewed and used as a tooth cleaner. Wood - heavy, fairly hard, fine-grained, not strong, light, tough, resilient. Takes a high polish and can be stained then used as a cherry, mahogany or walnut substitute. It is also used for furniture, flooring, fruit dishes, veneer etc.

 

SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):

  1. https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Liquidambar+styraciflua
  2. http://www.eattheweeds.com/sweet-gum-tree
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidambar_styraciflua
  4. http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/08/sweetgum.html (good photos)
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Liquidambar_styraciflua (good photos)