If Trees Could Sing

Ben Folds & the Sweetgum

Singer-songwriter Ben Folds talks about the sweetgum and the benefits that trees provide us.

Sweetgum Leaves

The star-shaped leaves of the sweetgum are easy to spot.

Sweetgum Bark

The sweetgum's bark is gray-brown and furrowed.

The spiny gumball is the fruit of the sweetgum tree and contains its seeds.

Ben Folds

Singer-songwriter, piano player and record producer Ben Folds first made a name for himself in alternative rock and pop as the leader of the Ben Folds Five between 1995 and 2000. Since then as a solo artist, he has released six albums and has collaborated on musical projects ranging from an album with actor William Shatner to his most recent album, So There, featuring a piano concerto performed with the Nashville Symphony. See other music artists talking about trees...

Sweetgum Facts

  • Scientific name: Liquidambar styraciflua
  • Range: across most of the Eastern U.S. into Texas
  • Height: up to 100 feet tall
  • Fruit: a spiny round, long-stemmed fruit known as a "gumball"
  • Fall colors: leaves turn yellow, orange, red and purple
  • Distinguishing feature: Like pin oaks, sweetgums produce pin-like, diminutive spur branches on larger branches.
  • Moth food: The leaves of the sweetgum are a favorite food source for Luna Moth caterpillars.

You Can Take Care of Trees Like the Sweetgum

Mighty Cool Tree Fact

Did you know... over the course of 50 years, a single tree can provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control?