M18: Sweetgum : Liquidamber styraciflua
Coming from the eastern and southern USA this species was introduced in 1681. It can grow to 15-28 m and may live for 400 years. The leaves are very like the Maple family, but they are alternate, not opposite on the stem. Sometimes the autumn colour can be spectacular but it is very variable and there are many cultivars. Closely related to the Hamamelidaceae, the Witch Hazels, the family originated in the Cretaceous and was widespread until the glaciations . It is a valuable timber crop in the States for interior use in carpentry and the gum was used for chewing gum.