Known as the “Tree of Life” in Egyptian mythology, the pyramidal Sycamore is a magnificent shade tree best known for its hardiness, exfoliating bark, and incredible longevity…
What distinguishes the lovely American Sycamore?
Acknowledged and honored as a notable species even since ancient times; noted in folklore worldwide.
Extremely hardy and resilient.
Immense size and very useful as a shade tree.
Fast-growing and long-living.
Ethereal mottled trunk.
Keeping up appearances…
This species is characterized best by its formidable size (the height and spread of a sycamore generally extends 75-100 feet), its preference to exfoliate (the smooth speckled bark sheds to reveal a pale mottled trunk), and the sticky green buds nestled in the axils of its leaves. True to its deciduous nature, the tree blooms in April and sheds its leaves in the autumn. Its wood—a common component in crafting furniture—is prized for its heavy durability and its freckled appearance (a distinguishable feature in butcher block counter tops). Similar to the Maple tree, the Sycamore’s wood is chiefly comprised of pale sapwood, with minimal dark heartwood streaks.
A friendly recommendation.
This gentle giant doesn’t require much maintenance to thrive; it can be planted any time of the year and can grow in nearly every type of soil. The Sycamore has a 4-9 zone hardiness rating; a native range in States east of the Great Plains, this fast-growing tree is native to temperate and subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere. It belongs to the family Platanceae, and also goes by the names American Sycamore, American planetree, occidental plane, and butterwood. To best thrive, the Sycamore demands soil that ranges from medium to wet and well-drained; it is also capable of enduring big city environments, although it is susceptible to athracnose and canker (lethal plant diseases caused by a wide range of fungal, bacterial, and viral organisms).
Awesome tree trivia!
- This tree is in fact said to be one of the oldest species of trees.
- Egyptians believed that their sun god Ra emerged from such a tree, and that two turquoise sycamores flanked Heaven’s gates.
- There is abundant folklore associated with the Sycamore throughout the world. Its wood is used for making “love spoons” in Wales, and its shedding winged seeds are called “helicopters” by children in the UK.
- Native Americans called these trees “Ghosts of the Forest”, most likely due to the ethereal white-gray-green-brown patchwork of their mottled trunks.
Pictures T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
Pictures Allen Bridgman, South Cariolina Dept of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
This Tree's Zone: 4 to 9
Your Growing Zone:
|Bloom||Yellow and red|
|Shape||Pyramid, round, spreading|
|Size||75 to 100 feet|
|Spread||75 to 100 feet|