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Acer pseudoplatanus L.

Sycamore maple

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderSapindalesIncludes citrus; maples, horse-chestnuts, lychees and rambutans; mangos and cashews; frankincense and myrrh; mahogany and neem
FamilySapindaceaeSoapberry family
SpeciespseudoplatanusMeans “false plane-tree”

About plant names...

Sycamore maples are natives of central Europe and south­western Asia. They are now established in North America.

Identification: This tree reaches 66-115' (20-35 m) in height, with a broad crown that is oval or rounded in shape. As the tree ages, smooth gray bark becomes brown, and begins breaking into scales, peeling to reveal pale brown, pinkish, or green inner bark. Leaves are five-lobed, similar to those of sugar maples in overall shape, but with more serrations. They are about 4-10" (10-25 cm) in size. Don’t confuse the sycamore maple tree with the dissimilar sycamore tree, Ficus sycomorus.


Acer pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple)

10/8/2011 · Mine Falls Park, Nashua, New Hamp­shire
≈ 23 × 17" (58 × 43 cm)

Acer pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple)

10/8/2011 · Mine Falls Park, Nashua, New Hamp­shire
≈ 21 × 31" (52 × 78 cm)

These "sycamores" are not related.

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Acer pseudoplatanus

Platanus occidentalis
Common Name

sycamore maple

American sycamore
Plant 66-115' (20-35 m) high, with a broad crown, oval to rounded in shape. 98-131' (30-40 m) high, up to 6½' (2 m) in diameter.
Flowers Yellowish green, in May. Male flowers are dark red, while female flowers are light green tinged with red. Both are ball-shaped.
Leaves Five-lobed, with serrated edges, 4-10" (10-25 cm) in size. 4-9" (10-22 cm) in size, somewhat resembling maple leaves, with 3-5 lobes.
Stem Depending on age, may be smooth and gray or covered with large peeling scales that reveal several colors of inner bark. Bark is mottled, with large irregular chunks like puzzle pieces that flake off, revealing differently colored bark beneath. Bark colors include tan, light gray, white, cream, and olive green.
Seeds Samaras are 1¼-2" (3.2-5 cm).  
Fruit   Bumpy brown balls about 1" (2.5 cm) around, on stems up to 3" (7.6 cm) long. Bumps separate into airborne seeds after drying.
Range/ Zones

Type Wild Wild


Online References:

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences


The University of Connecticut Plant Database

The Missouri Botanical Garden

Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants


Sibley, David Allen, The Sibley Guide to Trees, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, p. 348


Acer pseudoplatanus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 6 Sep 2023.

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