Sweet Gum Tree, American (Liquidambar styraciflua), packet of 100 seeds
Family: Witch Hazel (Hamamelidaceae)
Hardy to Zones 5 to 9
Deciduous tree to 80 feet tall, native to the American southeastern states. The palmate, usually 5-pointed leaves turn lovely colors in the fall, from bright orange to dark burgundy red. The tree prefers moist, fertile ground and is tolerant of both flooding and drought. Traditional use: The resinous exudate that gathers on the trunk is chewed in treatment of sore throat and applied externally to wounds and ulcers. The processed resin (heated and purified) is one of the ingredients in the famous embrocation known as “Friar’s Balsam,” which is used in treating indolent ulcers such as bedsores. The seeds (and in lesser concentration, the leaves, twigs and bark) of the tree, shaken from the spiny pods that look like a medieval mace, are a source of the antiviral molecule known as shikimic acid. This is used primarily as a prophylactic against influenza. A convenient mnemonic trick to remember the species name is the tree’s activity against flu (styraciflua). Tree prefers sun and moist, fertile soil. The seeds germinate best when planted in the fall for germination in the spring, or may be given 30 to 90 days moist refrigeration prior to sowing in warm soil. Work up seedlings in pots for a year or two before transplanting to the landscape. Space trees 30 feet apart.
100 seeds per packet, Open Pollinated, Untreated, NO GMO’s