The sap was also believed to be a cure for sciatica, weakness of nerves, etc. Most of the small, black seeds contained within the gumballs do not germinate, but are eaten by squirrels and birds. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 19, 2019: Thank you very much for the comment, Lora. Until quite recently, it was placed in the witch hazel family, or the Hamamelidaceae. Sweet gum seeds are eaten by many species of birds, including goldfinch, purple finch, sparrows, mourning doves, wild turkey, northern bobwhite, and wood duck, as well as by squirrels and chipmunks. Bitter in taste, aromatic, and neutral in temperature, lu lu tong is claimed to promote the movement of blood and qi, water metabolism and urination, expels wind, and unblocks the channels. The fruit is a woody multiple capsule 2–4 centimetres (0.79–1.57 in) in diameter (popularly called a "gumball"), containing numerous seeds and covered in numerous prickly, woody armatures, possibly to attach to fur of animals. I think the one you describe is much more interesting. I recently noticed than one of the two sweet gum trees growing by the school shown in the second photo in this article has been removed, however. Hi, Pamela. Thanks for sharing the not-so-known facts about this tree. I love the thought of beneficial substances in nature, too. They are all large, deciduous trees, 25–40 metres (82–131 ft) tall, with palmately 3- to 7-lobed leaves arranged spirally on the stems and length of 12.5 to 20 centimetres (4.9 to 7.9 in), having a pleasant aroma when crushed. Extracts from the sap have shown promise in fighting drug-resistant bacteria and hypertension. Fortunately whoever planted it did not properly prepare the root ball, and it was too twisted to ever fully grow. The American sweet gum tree was so named because of the amber-colored, resinous sweet sap that was scraped from the inside of the bark to produce a chewing gum-like substance. Studies of its genetics have shown that the genus Liquidambar should be classified in a separate group from witch hazel. The trunk of a mature gum tree may be five feet in diameter. Second to that is the sweet gum. I always appreciate your visits.and comments. John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 20, 2019: A wonderful article, Linda. I did not know its name then until I read your hub. New and old sweet gum balls (The leaves in the photo aren't sweet gum ones.). Very beautiful but definitely wear the shoes! Spray painted gold, they are pretty. The seeds are released through an opening in the capsule.
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