Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Moraine’ – Moraine Sweetgum
Botanical Name: Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Moraine’
The Moraine Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Moraine’) is a beautiful, medium sized, narrowly pyramidal or oval shaped deciduous tree. It is a cultivar of Liquidambar styraciflua or Sweetgum tree, which originates in the eastern United States, Mexico, and Central America. ‘Moraine’ is the most cold hardy cultivar of the Sweetgum tree in cultivation. It grows to a height of 40-45 feet and a spread of 25-30 feet.
The leaves of the Moraine Sweetgum are palmate, with 5 or sometimes 7 lobes, and appear star-shaped. The foliage emerges in spring a vibrant, glossy, bright green. In the fall, the tree puts on a vibrant, multi-colored display that graduates through yellow and orange, ending with deep red and purple. The effect can be stunning when multiple trees are planted lining a road or driveway.
The flowers of the Moraine Sweetgum blossom in May or June. They are yellowish-green in color and inconspicuous.
The texture of the tree is fairly coarse. The bark is an attractive, grayish brown with small warts that develop into attractive cork ridges as the tree matures. Fruit develops in the fall and can cause a nuisance when they drop. However, they are attractive to wildlife. They are spiky, round capsules approximately 1 to 2 inches in size.
The Moraine Sweetgum prefers full sun locations. It is tolerant of wet soils but dislikes alkaline soils. Its leaves show chlorosis if the pH gets too high. The roots can be shallow and push up sidewalks if planted as a street tree.