This tree can grow up to 150 feet tall. The wood has been used for many purposes and is especially valuable because it can be stained to imitate more expensive woods, such as mahogany and black walnut.
The star-shaped, aromatic leaves typically turn deep red in fall, but vary from pale yellow to orange and bronze. The twigs often sport corky ridges, and its common name refers to the resinous juice exuded from injured bark. The spiny, round fruits that hang from short stems look like Christmas ornaments and remain on the tree through the winter.