Round-Lobed Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua 'Rotundiloba')


The Round-Lobed Sweetgum differs from the common sweet gum in two key ways.  As the name suggests, the leaves have a rounded edge as opposed to the pointed shape seen on the common sweetgum. Additionally, the tree does not produce the spiky fruits that are infamously connected to the common sweetgum. This tree has star-shaped leaves with rounded points that are known for turning a bright crimson during fall. However, the leaves have also been observed to become yellow, orange, and purple in color.

Family: Hamamelidaceae (Witch Hazel)

Characteristics: The leaves are 4-7.5 inches long with 5-7 lobes. The lobes have rounded ends, giving the tree its common name. In the fall, these leaves turn from a deep green to yellow to burgundy. The tree has a pyramidal shape and grows 60-75 feet tall and 20- 30 feet wide. This cultivar does not produce the fruits that the common sweetgum is known for dropping. Its flowers are non-showy, petal-less, monoecious, and bloom in small clusters in the spring.

Foliage: Deciduous (leaves lost seasonally)

Geographic Origin: Eastern United States, Mexico (native)

Cultivation Notes: Requires low maintenance. Does best in full sun, and is intolerant to shade. Prefers acidic, moist, and well-drained soils. Alkaline soils should be avoided.

Number on Campus: 2

Sources: Dirr, Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden