P&PDL Picture of the Week for
December 13, 2004

Winged Twigs

Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulturist, Department of Horticulture, Purdue University

At first glance, you might suspect an insect or disease causing the stem to look enlarged, corky, and distorted on this twig sample. However, this type of twig growth is completely normal for the Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua). These corky wings normally develop during the 2nd year of growth on Sweet Gum, and can become quite profound on some specimens. Another woody plant species distinguished by prominent "wings" on the twigs is Winged Euonymus a.k.a. Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus).

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Sweet gum winged bark

Winged Euonymus twigs

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service