Sweetgum is a litte known and under-utilized shade tree native to the southern and eastern United States. Unusual star-shaped glossy green leaves set this tree apart. The leaves turn various shades of red-orange-yellow and burgundy in the fall. They produce spiky seed balls that persist on the tree through winter. They make a fine addition to your garden mulch bed, plus they're fun to whip at your sister! You may want to avoid planting over a patio or driveway for that reason, but not too big of a nuissance. They are susceptible to chlorosis so you may need to apply acidifying fertilizer to alkaline soils common in our region. The bark is deeply furrowed and develops corky ridges for additional interest. Definitely one to consider for a unique addition to your landscape!