Definition of liquidambar in English:



  • 1A deciduous North American and Asian tree with maplelike leaves and bright autumn colors, yielding aromatic resinous balsam.

    • ‘Saplings do look small when you buy them from the garden centre, but avenue trees such as liquidambars, Pinus radiata, Magnolia grandiflora and the like develop into enormous specimens with extensive root systems.’
    • ‘In front of a small house in Clyde the leaves on a liquidambar are a bright orange.’
    • ‘Trees with a strong vertical growth habit - such as Italian cypress and liquidambar - or spiked plants such as agave will ‘channel fast-moving chi towards us, producing a knife-like effect in our direction.’’
    • ‘For vivid autumn color, shop for trees such as birch, Chinese pistache, crape myrtle, ginkgo, Japanese maple, liquidambar, persimmon, and ‘Raywood’ ash.’
    • ‘But the judicious placement of plants - a strawberry tree in the planter and several liquidambars screening a corner - makes the space surprisingly private.’
    1. 1.1 Liquid balsam obtained chiefly from the Asian liquidambar tree, used medicinally and in perfume.
      Also called storax


Late 16th century: modern Latin, apparently formed irregularly from Latin liquidus ‘liquid’ + medieval Latin ambar ‘amber’.