This tree is great for urban and rural settings and stands out with its star shaped leaves. The female trees produce seed pods called gumballs that can be dried and used in floral arrangements and potpourri.
The first mention of the sweet gum in history came from the diary of a Spanish conquistador in 1519, who watched a ceremony between Cortez and Montezuma, in which the “liquid amber” resin from a sweet gum tree was used. Indeed, in North American Indian medicine, the resins from sweet gum trees were used to treat several ailments, as well as for dental hygiene.
The tree is a host plant for 34 species of butterflies and moths in the greater Jefferson County area including the stunning Promethea Silkmoth and justly named Imperial Moth. Sweet gum attracts Orioles, Vireos, Wrens, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Finches, Grosbeaks, Titmouse, Nuthatches, Mockingbirds, Chickadees, Warblers, Towhees, and Thrushes.