At number 7 we have Liquidambar orientalis: the Oriental sweet gum – one of my favourite trees of all time!
Native to SW Asia, the name Liquidambar refers to its aromatic gum, previously described as ‘liquid amber’. Orientalis is Latin and means ‘from the East’ (Source: Davis Landscape Architects).
Deciduous, broad-leaved and often found in parks and arboretums in temperate zones (e.g. Kew Gardens, ANU Canberra), Liquidambar is famed for its show-stopping Autumnal display when its palm-shaped leaves turn from green to vibrant shades of orange, scarlet or purple.
Liquidambar produces beautiful round pollen grains covered with large pores – click here to see some photos.
The exterior ‘shell’ (exine) of this and other pollen grains are made of decay-resistant sporopollenin, enabling grains to be preserved for thousands of years in lake sediments, peat bogs and other depositional environments – providing a record of the types of vegetation that grew in the past.