Anatolian Sweet Gum tree (Liquidambar orientalis) is a endemic type from Altingiaceae family which is notably found in Fethiye and Menteşe in Turkey. These trees can grow up to 20 meters high, and look like plane trees. They form forests mixing with black pines. It is generally described as a perennial. Sweet gum bark is gray-brown with irregular furrows and rough rounded ridges. The bark of young sweet gum tree has rounded, tall and greyish. As the tree matures, the bark develops deep and furrowed scaly ridges. Young twigs start off as greenish then get reddish brown. They have some scattered white lenticels (white spots). They are small, but can be visible. Lateral buds are convoluted to the twigs. The terminal buds are slightly larger than the lateral bud. The buds exhibit an ellipsoidal shaped like a thin spear, pale, yellowish brown and covered with dry, shingle-like scales. You can chafe a bud to get a good sense of aromatic smell as they have three signs of transmission heap.
Sweet gums are easy to identify by their leaves. Leaves are star-shaped with five pointy lobes, and a long stalk. Each lobe is divided into secondary lobes. The lobes are bumpy and sharp, their numbers are rarely three or seven. The base is truncate or slightly heart-shaped. They come out of the bud plicate, downy, pale green, when full grown are bright green, smooth, shining above, paler beneath. The male inflorescence consists of a raceme of clustered male flowers; this raceme is greenish yellow and ascending. They are thick and stalkless. The female inflorescence consists of a green globoid head of female flowers. They are embellished with small reddish flowers. They turn into brown barbed cones at maturity.
The fruits hang down the tree. Their seed capsules that release from the pods fall into at mature. The seeds are dark brown in colour, spiky with softer borders. Seed shells are bright, thin and strong. Sweet gum Oil is a good antiseptic used in pharmaceutics and perfumes and as incense in churches, etc. The sap of the sweet gum can be processed into a necessary ingredient for incense-making. That's why the name of sweet gum tree is called 'Gunluk tree' or 'Sıghala Tree' in Turkish. Gunluk Tree means 'a frankincense or myrrh tree', sıgala refers to 'a boggy place'. The tree's gum resin exudes from the bark when wounded. It is a kind of native balsam, or resin, resembling turpentine. The essential oil of frankincense is produced by sweet gum tree resin. It is used in the perfume, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. The importance of sweet gum tree is mainly the oil. 20 tonnes of oil based thereof sıghala oil are used to be produced a year while 3 or 4 tonnes of it is produced a year today due to deforestation. Therefore, the demand of the oil can not able to be met for both international and local markets. The synthetic fixators have been used in industry since 2000, the demand for sıghala oil is diminished and the production of sıghala oil is reduced in one tonne.