The American sycamore is a wide-canopied, deciduous tree with a massive trunk and open crown of huge, crooked branches. The brown bark of large, old trunks peels off in patches exposing a smooth, creamy white inner bark. Large, medium- to dark-green, maple-shaped leaves turn brown in fall. Non-showy, monoecious flowers appear in small, rounded clusters; male flowers are yellowish and female flowers are reddish. Female flowers are followed by fruiting balls which disintegrate through the fall to disperse their numerous seeds. Attracts birds.
According to the USDA: Open-grown American sycamores usually begin flowering in 6-7 years. Natural stands of sycamore usually produce appreciable numbers of seed at approximately 25 years; optimum seed production occurs from 50-200 years of age. Good seed crops are produced every 1-2 years.
Prefers rich, humusy, consistently moist soils. Generally tolerant of most urban pollutants and light shade.
Fun fact: Sycamore grows to a larger trunk diameter than any other native hardwood.
Height: 75-100 ft.
Spread: 75-100 ft.
Bloom time: April
Sun: full sun to part shade
Water: medium to wet
Rain garden, shade tree
photo credit: Colsu