Liquidambar is a small genus made up of four species of deciduous trees, all of which provide incredible autumn colour.
Liquidambar styraciflua is not only the hardiest species but also the tallest, reaching up to 22m in cultivation, and more than twice that in the wild. Liquidambar trees grow to approximately 6m in height in 20 years.
The liquidambar tree really lives up to its name. The polished foliage is attractive lush green throughout the Spring and Summer before turning vivid shades of purple, red and orange in the autumn. The liquidambar tree is ideal for use as a focal point in the garden, great for breaking up the appearance of ugly buildings and perfect for planting in rows, to create a formal avenue.
The striking autumn colour, strong architectural form and hardiness of Liquidambar Styraciflua makes it a very popular small ornamental tree. Liquidambar are often confused with maples because of their similarly shaped leaves, but a close look will reveal that the leaves and shoots of Liquidambar are alternate, while those of Acer are opposite. The fruit they bear are also quite unlike the maple. They are small woody clusters of seeds that hang from the branches in the winter.
The Liquidambar tree is fast-growing and tolerant of a wide range of conditions. Liquidambar should be planted in full sun in neutral to acid soil that is moist but well-drained. This fabulous liquidambar ornamental tree will withstand, once established, periods of drought and temporary flooding.
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