Got Nature? Blog

Posted on August 1st, 2022 in Forestry, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »

The classic and trusted book “Fifty Common Trees of Indiana” by T.E. Shaw was published in 1956 as a user-friendly guide to local species.  Nearly 70 years later, the publication has been updated through a joint effort by the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Indiana 4-H, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and reintroduced as “An Introduction to Trees of Indiana.”

Drawing of sweet gum leafThe full publication is available for download for $7 in the Purdue Extension Education Store. The field guide helps identify common Indiana woodlot trees.

Each week, the Intro to Trees of Indiana web series will offer a sneak peek at one species from the book, paired with an ID That Tree video from Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee to help visualize each species as it stands in the woods. Threats to species health as well as also insight into the wood provided by the species will be provided through additional resources as well as the Hardwoods of the Central Midwest exhibit of the Purdue Arboretum, if available.

This week, we introduce the sweetgum or Liquidambar styraciflua.

This species is easily identified by its leaves, which are shaped like a five-pointed star and held alternately near the end of the twigs on long leaf stems. The leaves change from bright green in the summer to fall colors ranging from yellow to orange, red, and purple. The twigs of sweetgum may be smooth or feature corky winged projections. The fruit of the sweetgum are spiny spherical balls that hold tiny winged seeds inside, which are released in the fall.

Sweetgum is found natively in the low, wet bottomland woods of southern Indiana, but is planted ornamentally through the state. This species grows as far north as coastal New York, as far south as central Florida, as far west as eastern Texas as well as throughout the Midwest with the exception of the Appalachian Mountains.

For full article with additional photos view: Intro to Trees of Indiana: Sweet Gum

Other Resources:
Sweetgum in Hardwoods of the Midwest
Sweetgum in the Hardwood Lumber and Veneer Series
Fifty Trees of the Midwest app for the iPhone
Native Trees of the Midwest
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest
ID That Tree YouTube playlist
Woodland Management Moment YouTube playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands
Forest Improvement Handbook

Wendy Mayer, FNR Communications Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Related Posts:
Share this Post:
Got Nature?

Archives