Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the black tree maintenance tags, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Family: Altingiaceae
Liquidambar styraciflua L.

Black tag 20
54o 34.994N
5o 55.122W

A New World woodland tree found in the wild from New York to Nicaragua. It is an important timber tree second only to oak among hardwoods. It is usually planted in the UK for its decorative leaves and Autumn colour. The leaves are similar to a maple, but are attached alternately rather than opposite on the stems. They also have a sweet resinous smell when crushed. There are two specimens in Belfast Botanic Gardens, one beside the boundary path from the Stranmillis gate to the Palm House ( next to a Dawn Redwood), the other close to the bandstand, near the tree-of-heaven. Sweetgum will grow to 30m tall. Storax resin used in perfumes is derived from a western Asia species, Liquidambar orientalis.

Liquidambar in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Liquidambar styraciflua branches

Sweetgum in Belfast Botanic Gardens - November Sweetgum in Belfast Botanic Gardens - autumn colour

Liquidambar styraciflua leaf shape

Liquidambar styaciflua bark

Sweetgum leaf Sweetgum bark

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2010. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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