American Sycamore

Scientific name: Platanus occidentalis

American sycamore is a large, fast-growing, deciduous tree that grows naturally along waterways. These trees have a rounded growth form, and typically reach 75-100 ft tall (to 150 ft in the wild) by 75-100 ft wide. Sycamores often live for more than 200 years. The bark is striking with a distinct scaly gray-brown outer layer that peels off to a white inner layer. In April, small flowers in rounded clusters bloom; flowers give way to fuzzy fruiting balls that turn brown in the fall and stay on the tree into early winter. Indeed, this tree is also known as buttonball or buttonwood tree. The wood is used commercially for furniture and has historically been hollowed out by Native Americans for canoes. Sycamore is an excellent shade tree and is recommended for large spaces in parks, rain gardens, and residential areas. Tolerant of deer, wet soil, road salt, clay soil, and air pollutants. Needs full sun. Grows in plant hardiness zones 4-9.

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