American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

  • Broadleafed
  • Deciduous
  • Alternate Common Name: None
  • Average Height: American sycamore is a very massive tree with heavy, spreading branches with obviously zigzag twigs reaching up to and over 100 feet tall. In winter, the persistent fruits resemble Christmas tree ornaments.
  • Average Width: The average spread is half as wide as it is tall, but it can be as wide as it is tall.
  • Leaf Description: Alternate, simple, palmately veined, 4 to 8 inches wide, ovate in shape, with three to five lobes, margins coarsely toothed, petiole bases encircle and enclose the buds, veins may be pubescent below.
  • Bark Description: American sycamore bark is thin, mottled brown, green, tan and white; older stems are gray-brown and scaly. The most striking feature of this tree, often referred to as "camouflage" bark that readily exfoliates.
  • Twig Description: Obviously zigzag, quite stout and orange-brown in color; leaf scar surrounds the bud and the stipule scar surrounds the twig; terminal bud is absent; lateral buds are reddish, resinous, with a single, cap-like scale.
  • Flowering: Monoecious; imperfect, both male and females are very small and appear in dense round clusters, typically a single cluster to a stalk, appearing with the leaves.
  • Needle or Broadleaf: Broadleafed
  • Comments: Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) is native to North America.

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