Liquidamber styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ (Sweet Gum) 

The common name for this beautiful native tree refers to the sticky resin that oozes out of the twigs and branches. The distinctive star-shaped, glossy green leaves often turn fiery red, orange and yellow in the fall. The tree grows up to 30-50 feet tall and 25-40 feet wide in the fertile soil that it prefers. In mid-late spring, small yellow-green flowers appear in inconspicuous clusters, developing later into hard, spherical, bristly gum balls that can make this tree unpopular when it is planted near sidewalks. On the plus side, sweetgum is not subject to serious insect or disease issues. The seeds inside the gumballs are eaten by chickadees and other birds. Caterpillars of some butterfly species, including the spectacular Luna moth, relish the leaves of sweegum. 

In the fall of 2021 we planted two PHS bare root trees of the variety Worplesdon. The  name "Worplesdon" refers to the fact that the tree we are planting is a selection that came from England in the 1960's, perhaps from a tree that grew near the village of this name.  It is said to have especially good leaf color in the fall. This is still considered the native species, it's not a hybrid, but rather than being grown from seed, the tree is propagated by cuttings to preserve the desirable qualities.

One of the trees did not survive the winter but the other, planted on one of the mounds along the creek, is doing fine.