March - October
30.0 - 40.0
The Acadians of south Louisiana called this tree "copal," which was adapted from the Aztec term for resin. The name is said to have been bestowed by La Salle himself (Holmes 1990). The Indians, and early settlers, are said to have used it as chewing gum. The wood is of good quality, and the tree is used as an ornamental with good fall color (purple). The gum balls can be a nuisance to homeowners but have many uses in the handcraft industry. Acadians use them to decorate Christmas trees. A sterile variety is available in the nursery trade. Sweetgum grows wet to swampy woods of Louisiana and east to south-central Texas. It ranges from Florida to Texas and north to Connecticut. The gum exuded from injuries to the tree is know as "copalm balsam" and has been used as a medicinal.
Low rich woods and swampy woods.
The wood from sweetgum is used for lumber, veneer, plywood, and slack cooperage. The lumber is remanufactured into boxes, baskets, crates, interior parts of furniture, and interior woodwork. Minor uses include crossties, fuel, fencing, excelsior, and pulpwood.