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Platanus occidentalis

Platanus occidentalis L.

Platanus occidentalis L. var. glabrata (Fernald) Sarg.

American Sycamore, Sycamore

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
SubclassHamamelidaeWind-pollinated shrubs
OrderHamamelidalesWitch hazels and related plants
FamilyPlatanaceae“Plane trees” such as American sycamore
GenusPlatanusPlane tree
SpeciesoccidentalisNorth American and European in origin, though I think this species is found only in North America

About plant names...

American sycamore is native to the eastern North America.

Identification: Trees reach 98-131' (30-40 m) and up to 6½' (2 m) in diameter. 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. The unusual appearance of the bark is a prominent identifying feature. Leaves are 4-9" (10-22 cm) in size, somewhat resembling maple leaves, with 3-5 lobes. Male (staminate) flowers are dark red, while female (pistillate) flowers are light green tinged with red. Both are ball-shaped, becoming brown balls of fruit about 1" (2.5 cm) around, hanging on stems up to 3" (7.6 cm) long, usually remaining through the winter. The balls are bumpy; each bump is a seed and parachute.

 

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

9/7/2010 · Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

2/24/2010 · Batiquitos Lagoon, Carlsbad, CA
≈ 3 × 4" (8.5 × 10 cm)

These “sycamores” are not related.

 
Acer pseudoplatanus
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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:

Platanus occidentalis at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Platanus occidentalis on Wikipedia

Platanus occidentalis on the USDA Plants Database

Platanus occidentalis at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Platanus occidentalis at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Platanus occidentalis at the USDA Forest Service's Silvics of North America site

Platanus occidentalis at the Ohio State University PLANTFacts database

Platanus occidentalis on eFloras

References:

Sibley, David Allen, The Sibley Guide to Trees, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, p. 102

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

4/6/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, Sparks, MD
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

9/7/2010 · Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA
≈ 21 × 16" (52 × 41 cm)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

7/2/2010 · Mt Vernon Trail, along Potomac River

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

4/8/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, Monkton Rd, Sparks, MD
≈ 12 × 17" (29 × 44 cm)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

6/13/2011 · Great Falls State Park, Washington, DC
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

7/23/2010 · Nashua River Boat Ramp on Rte 119, Groton, MA
≈ 16 × 24" (41 × 62 cm) ID is uncertain

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

7/23/2010 · Nashua River Boat Ramp on Rte 119, Groton, MA
≈ 14 × 21" (34 × 52 cm) ID is uncertain

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

3/17/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, End, Phoenix, MD

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

3/19/2012 · Gunpowder Falls State Park, Cockeysville, MD
≈ 16 × 24" (41 × 62 cm)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

7/2/2010 · Mt Vernon Trail, along Potomac River

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

6/13/2011 · Great Falls State Park, Washington, DC
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Platanus occidentalis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 May 2016.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

11/30/2014 · James River, Midlothian, VA
≈ 4 × 6' (1.2 × 1.8 m)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

Ball-shaped fruit splits into parachute-borne seeds · 4/8/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, Monkton Rd, Sparks, MD
≈ 5 × 4" (12 × 10 cm)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

7/2/2010 · Mt Vernon Trail, along Potomac River

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

7/2/2010 · Mt Vernon Trail, along Potomac River

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

3/16/2010
≈ 5 × 6½' (1.6 × 2.0 m)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

11/8/2015
≈ 28 × 19" (71 × 47 cm)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

11/30/2014 · James River, Midlothian, VA
≈ 4½ × 7' (1.4 × 2.1 m)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

2/24/2010 · Batiquitos Lagoon, Carlsbad, CA
≈ 4 × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

7/23/2010 · Nashua River Boat Ramp on Rte 119, Groton, MA
≈ 19 × 14" (47 × 34 cm) ID is uncertain

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

7/2/2010 · Mt Vernon Trail, along Potomac River
≈ 14 × 9" (35 × 23 cm)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

9/7/2010 · Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

7/23/2010 · Nashua River Boat Ramp on Rte 119, Groton, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm) ID is uncertain

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Sycamore)

7/2/2010 · Mt Vernon Trail, along Potomac River
≈ 16 × 11" (41 × 27 cm)

Range:

About this map...