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Liquidamber

branches, feet and wood

LIQUIDAMBER, in botany, a genus of the Monoecia Polyandria class and order. Natural order of Coniferx. Amentacew, Jussieu. Essential character : male, calyx eommon,four-leaved; corolla none : fiiameats numerous : female : calyx in a globe, fbur-leaved ; corolla none ; styles two : capsules many in a globe, two valved, many-seeded. There are two species, viz. L. styraciflua, maple-leaved liquidamber, or sweet gum ; and L. im berbe, oriental liquidamber; the trunk of the former is usually two feet in diame ter, straight, and free from branches, to the height of fifteen feet ; whence the branches spread and the in a conic form forty feet from the ground. The leaves are shaped like those of the lesser maple, of a (lark green colour, their upper sur faces shining; a sweet glutinous substance exudes through their pores in warm weather, which renders them clammy to the touch ; in February, before the leaves are formed, the blossoms break forth from the tops of the branches into spikes of yellowish red pappose globular flowers, which swell gradually, retaining their round form to the full maturity of their seed vessels, which are thick set with pointed hollow protuberances, and split ting open discharge their seeds. The

wood of this tree is good timber, and is used in wainscotting, &c. ; the grain is fine, some of it is beautifully variegated. Whets wrought too green it is apt to shrink. From between the wood and the bark issues a fragrant gum, which trickles from the wounded trees, and by the heat of the sun congeals into transparent drops, which the Indians chew as a preservative to their teeth ; it smells very much like Balsam of Tolu, so that it is difficult to distinguish them. The bark is of singular use to the Indians for covering their huts. Native of North America.