Good as shade trees or planted in informal groves, their star-shaped leaves turn red, yellow, orange or purple in fall. Their round spiny fruits are shaped like the maces that medieval knights once carried. Their fruits contain the gummy sap that inspired their common name, Sweet Gum. Ridged bark resembles cork. They tolerate coastal conditions if sheltered from strong winds. Not recommended as street trees due to honeydew drip from aphids and scale, plus the litter from their fruit. Water deeply during dry spells to promote growth and deep roots. Shallow roots can crack pavement. Iron chlorosis is a problem in high pH soils.
Pyramidal when young, these trees spread with age. Leaves turn brilliant wine-red to deep purple-red in fall and last into winter. Reaches 60 to 75 feet tall and 40 to 50 feet wide.