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Plantidote of the Day 2010-09-28

twig's picture

DSCF1100
Common Name: Sweet Gum tree

Liquidambar styraciflua

Family: Hamamelidaceae

A lovely example of Fall FAIL, aka autumn in Zone 10. Breathtaking, isn't it? Not. In other parts of the country, liquidambars are known for their magnificent display of color in autumn. Here, they're known for dropping dull brown leaves and rock-hard spiky little balls of "fruit" well into spring. Feeling sorry for me yet?

If so, please share some pics of fall color where you are and I'll be forever grateful and promise not to bitch about this again ... at least until next September. Now back to the liquidambar ...

Actually, it's a spectacular tree in spring and summer -- very tall (more than 40' high) with lush foliage that provides a lot of shade. There are two in the front yard, and one year, for some mysterious reason, the leaves on both turned a spectacular shade of gold. But it's never happened again. So get out those cameras and show us what you got, foliage-wise, in your neck of the woods. We'll be waiting ...

Readers, please send me (twig4now@gmail.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a “Name That Plant” mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

PLANTIDOTE GROUP FORMING: Want to help gather images and take Plantidote of the Day to the next level? Of course you do! Join jerztomato, kerril and me by clicking the Join Groups menu item to sign up or email me at the address above!

Click on the image for the full-size version. Click here to see the entire series.

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jerztomato's picture
Submitted by jerztomato on

Nahhh. Fall color is over rated.

Submitted by lambert on

Nobody said fall color couldn't be subtle.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

but for fall leaves I prefer the totally over the top, Technicolor blow out that goes on in the Midwest and East Coast. Might be a nostalgia thing ...

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." -- Albert Einstein

kerril's picture
Submitted by kerril on

When they color up. Someone planted three different colors and they are spectacular when they turn. Of course, this year they won't. Leaves seem to be browning here without a lot of color for some reason.
Hate those spiky seed thingies. We had one in our front yard when I was a kid and the many times I stepped barefoot on those things is not a pleasant memory.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

they're nasty, kind of like stepping on a big marble. Have to keep them off the walkway, so no one gets hurt. Good thing the trees are so pretty otherwise.

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." -- Albert Einstein