Sweet gum tree

Above: beside St Paul's south transept in the summer.

Below: in the spring, after the leaves have just formed.


Judas tree

Trees of London
St Paul's

Sweet gum

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              Ticking off features like the leaves and the nuts, it is easy to confuse the sweet gum with the London plane. The really difference is in the bark.

              It is quite a majestic tall tree, and in the autumn, its leaves turn a rich red colour which makes it stand out, and also, to a certain degree, transform it. It is quite easy to pass a location with familiar trees, and think that a new one has sprung up from nowhere. What one is witnessing is the sweet gum in its autumn lustre.



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Tree Identification

Liquidambar: styraciflua

Leaf:
maple like, but more star shaped. Go a striking red in the autumn.

Sweet gum leaf
Sweet gum leaf

nuts/fruit:
called gumballs; round, spiky; hang down from tree in groups of two to five.

Flowers:

fairly small, white, round; on their own.
Sweet gum bark bark:
rough,with horizontal and vertical rims.
shape:
grows to 25-40 metres; tall.
general: many of its features are similar to the London plane: nuts, leaves. It is with the bark where there is a marked difference.

Location
Next to the south transept, on the east side
Marked red on map.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©