Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) in fall colors. The tree is not technically native to our area: it originally comes from the eastern side of the Appalachians. But it has established itself here as part of our ecosystem, and it is a welcome immigrant. No other tree gives us such a spectacular variety of fall colors on the same individual. This young tree was growing by a railroad on the South Side.
The unmistakable dried seedpods of Liquidambar styriciflua on the ground in the West Park arboretum. Sweetgum is not native to our area—its range ends a little south of us—but it is so widely planted that it is one of our more common trees.