25 American Sycamore | Platanus Occidentalis Seeds
The American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
The American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) is a large, stately tree that offers beauty and deep shade for your yard in the summer. The attractive white and gray spotted trunk of mature trees stands out and makes for easy identification, especially in winter. Also standing out are the very large maple-shaped leaves, which turn golden yellow in the fall before dropping.
Sycamores grow well in plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, Its native range includes eastern and central US and southeastern Canada. This species needs well-draining soil that receives full sun exposure. It's tolerant of acid soils to a pH between 4.4, and even slightly alkaline soils up to 7.5. In the south, it's primarily a mountain tree, though it's sometimes planted on the coastal plain and does well, here in coastal South Carolina, where these seeds were collected in late fall 2021. It will not tolerate soggy soils.
In fertile soils, it can easily form trunks three feet in diameter, and heights over 100 feet tall. A very few virgin trees now remaining are even much larger.
Another name for the tree is "buttonwood," after its seed balls, and there's a town in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. Buttonwood is named after its many sycamore trees. It's also called the American plane tree, as it's closely related to the European plane tree.
Birds feed on the seeds. There are no serious pests. The tree is the only known host for the moth, Ectoedemia platanella. It's one of the host trees for the white-marked tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma). The sycamore leaf beetle can be a pest.
Sycamore wood is very hard and is excellent for carving or turning. It has a beautiful mottled pattern that appears three-dimensional on the quarter-sawn side.
Features: Fast Growing, Air Purifying, Deciduous, Open-Pollinating Cultivating Difficulty: Easy Season of Interest: Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter Genus: Platanus Soil pH: Neutral to acid Growth Habit: Large tree Climate: Humid Continental, Humid Subtropical, Mediterranean Common Name: Sycamore Soil Type: Very adaptable, acid OK Color: Mottled bark adds interest, Multicolor Life Cycle: Perennial Sunlight: Full Sun Watering: Medium