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Red Gum

Red Gum, Liquid Amber, Liquidambar styraciflua is a medium to large sized tree, growing anywhere from 30–50 feet tall in ornamental plantings and 150 feet tall in the wild..  Diameters reach 24-40 inches. Trees can live up to four centuries when excellent environmental conditions exist. This is one of the most significant hardwoods in the Southeastern USA. The gum resin, for which the tree is named, exudes from the bark of the tree when wounded. It has several names including liquid amber and copalm balsam. The resin may be clear, reddish, or yellow, with a pleasant smell like ambergris. The earliest recorded record of Liquidambar styraciflua is in a work by Spanish naturalist Francisco Hernández that was published in 1651. Hernandez describes the species as a large tree producing a fragrant gum resembling liquid amber, whence the genus name Liquidambar. The unique compound fruit is hard, dry, and globose, and ranges from 1–1.5? inches in diameter.  The fruits are commonly a nuisance as the liquid amber fruits are roughly the size of walnuts but may have several hundred spines. Liquid Amber wood is a bright reddish brown (with the sapwood nearly white) and may have black grain in the heartwood. It is heavy, straight, satiny, and close-grained, taking a beautiful polish.

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