American Sweetgum Tree (Liquidambar Styraciflua)

Three trees with red, orange, and green leaves in a row. Tan stone commissary in the distance.
Sweetgum Trees in autumn


Quick Facts
Parade Ground

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Wheelchair Accessible

This Tree prefers to grow in bottom lands and hardwood forests. It can get up to 100 feet tall. The leaves are shaped like a star and have toothed edges. The seeds are shaped like a ball and covered with spikes. The wood is good for building furniture and buildings.  It would have a good building material for the fort and excellent fuel to make fires. The early settlers and soldiers in Fort Smith had very little in their lives to consider a luxury. This tree helped relieve some of that hardship by offering a kind of candy. Settlers and soldiers could peel back the park to expose the liquorish flavored sap so they could chew it like gum. This is why it has the name sweetgum.  

Fort Smith National Historic Site

Last updated: February 2, 2021