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American Sweetgum vs Castor-Aralia

These species are sometimes confused because of their similar leaves; they are easily distinguished by the Castor-Aralia's thorns.

American Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Castor-Aralia (Kalopanax septemlobus)

A distinctive tree with star-shaped leaves and hard, spiky fruits. Native to eastern North America where it tends to be found on moist to wet sites.
An uncommonly cultivated introduced species in North America, someties escaping into the wild; has potential to become invasive, but not widely planted.
Stems lack thorns; sometimes covered in ridges.
Photo © Scott Loarie, Public Domain.
Stems have thorns.
Photo © Summit Metro Parks, CC BY-SA 4.0.