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Sweet Gum

=Habitat and Range.=--Low, wet soil, swamps, moist woods.

Connecticut,--restricted to the southwest corner of the state, not far

from the seacoast; Darien to Five Mile river, probably the northeastern

limit of its natural growth.

South to Florida; west to Missouri and Texas.

=Habit.=--Tree 40-60 feet high, with a trunk diameter of 10 inches to 2

feet, attaining a height of 150 feet and a diameter of 3-5 feet in the

Ohio and Mississippi valleys; trunk tall and straight; branches rather

small for the diameter and height of the tree, the lower mostly

horizontal or declining; branchlets beset with numerous short, rather

stout, curved twigs; head wide-spreading, ovoid or narrow-pyramidal,

symmetrical; conspicuous in summer by its deep green, shining foliage,

in autumn by the splendor of its coloring, and in winter by the

long-stemmed, globular fruit, which does not fall till spring.

=Bark.=--Trunk gray or grayish-brown, in old trees deeply furrowed and

broken up into rather small, thickish, loose scales; branches

brown-gray; branchlets with or without prominent corky ridges on the

upper side; young twigs yellowish.

=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds ovate, reddish-brown, glossy, acute.

Leaves simple, alternate, regular, 3-4 inches in diameter, dark green

turning to reds, purples, and yellows in autumn, cut into the figure of

a star by 5-7 equal, pointed lobes, glandular-serrate, smooth, shining

on the upper surface, fragrant when bruised; base more or less

heart-shaped; stalk slender.

=Inflorescence.=--May. Developing from a bud of the season; sterile

flowers in an erect or spreading, cylindrical catkin; calyx none; petals

none, stamens many, intermixed with minute scales: fertile flowers

numerous, gathered in a long peduncled head; calyx consisting of fine

scales; corolla none; pistil with 2-celled ovary and 2 long styles.

=Fruit.=--In spherical, woody heads, about 1 inch in diameter, suspended

by a slender thread: a sort of aggregate fruit made up of the hardened,

coherent ovaries, holding on till spring, each containing one or two

perfect seeds.

=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy along the southern shores of New England;

grows in good wet or dry soils, preferring clays. Young plants are

tender in Massachusetts, but if protected a few seasons until well

established make hardy trees of medium size. It is offered by

nurserymen, but must be frequently transplanted to be moved with safety;

rate of growth rather slow and nearly uniform to maturity. Propagated

from seed.

1. Winter buds.

2. Flowering branch.

3. Sterile flower.

4. Fertile flower.

5. Fruiting branch.


=Platanus occidentalis, L.=

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