What kind of trees are those two in the photo? (I really don't have any better photo.)

enter image description here

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    Hi VividD! I'd like to use this to teach users the most helpful way to ask an identification question. A picture is always essential! The other criteria include: a title with a good description of the plant; a repeat of the descriptive features in the question; where you live, or where the plant was found. Other features are helpful too, like color of flowers; shape of leaves; and things like that. Here are the instructions for using the tag. Thanks! Jan 17 '18 at 20:09

Just by looking at branch organization, I would say they are liquidambars.

Consider following branch organizations:

enter image description here

They are called alternate and opposite organizations, respectively.

Of trees, only maples, ashes and dogwoods have opposite organization of branches. I don't see any traces of that in the pictured trees.

Since leaves tell us they must be maples or liquidambars, they are liquidambars.

An article from thespruce.com: 'Which Trees Have Opposite Branching?'


  • Maybe sweetgums ( humor ). Jan 17 '18 at 20:36
  • @blacksmith37 I live in the area where liquidambars/sweetgums are not native, and local people call these trees "liquidambars". There is some other word, but it is generally not widely known, and very rarely used, in my area, in my language.
    – VividD
    Jan 17 '18 at 20:41
  • I knew about liquidambars before, but not until this autumn I noticed a tree in the distance from the window of my work place - and I was blown away by its color, or colors - and the shape was a sort of excellent, elegant. These two above are newly planted in public spaces in my city, I just wanted to confirm if they are sweetgums. And I already planted two in my yard since November! Last available space for large trees in my yard I spent on liquidambars - one on the East, one on the West, both very visible from the house. @blacksmith37
    – VividD
    Jan 17 '18 at 20:49
  • The seed balls are heck to walk on. Jan 18 '18 at 4:28
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    Doesn't trust much about branches position. It can be misleading, both for wild plants (not ideal position) than cultivated plants. As you see, there are many scars in the trunks (and those plants doesn't seem so healthy, many branches without developed leaves. In any case (but it is difficult to see on your photo), the top branches are still alternate, so you should be right. Jan 18 '18 at 8:06

Easy one to remember, maples have something called a samara, or winged seed they fall off in the wind and twist in the air, we used to call them helicopter seeds as children. Liquidamber has tight dark brown like balls with seeds hidden inside- although from a distance they look similar, the leaves are quite different, maples are smooth and Liquids are not, the bark is also different depending on variety of maple, some are smooth, or peeling- the list goes on, liquids always have that mid grey rough looking bark only. so to end- the picture is of a Liquidamber.

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