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Liquidambar (family Hamamelidaceae) A small genus of 4 species of trees and shrubs which have maple-like leaves. Male flowers are held in spikes, female flowers in heads. L. styraciflua (sweet gum) has superb autumn colours and provides the timbers American red gum (heartwood) and American sap gum (sapwood). They occur in temperate areas of western N. America, Asia Minor, and eastern Asia.