Platanus occidetalis L.

Sycamore located near Art Center Description

The Sycamore tree can be a very large tree with a magnificent trunk that shows a mottling of different colors (1).  Its branches stretch out in long wide angles.  This tree allows a perfect shade spot on a warm summer day.


This particular tree is located on the northwestern corner of the Arts Center building on campus.  You are able to see the campus library, art studio building and Smyth Hall when standing next to it.

Native Habitat

Sycamore tree leaf

Source Reference #7

These large, deciduous trees are native of southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, and North America (2).

Optimal Growing Conditions

Likes to grow in moist soil along streams and rivers in temperate regions (3).  Sycamore trees grow in full sun or light shade (2).  They should be fertilized every year or two and provided with plenty of water during dry periods to help prevent the attack of disease (2).

Economic Importance

Sycamore tree bark

Source Reference #4

The wood of the sycamore is used for furniture, flooring, wooden washing machines.

Ethnobotanical and Cultural Information

Height: 60-100 feet tall
Leaves: 4-8'' long and wide, ovate with 3 or 5 short broad pointed lobes 
Bark: brownish, green and gray with smooth whitish mottling, peeling off in large thin flakes
Fruit: singular brown ball, 1" in diameter on a thin long stem
Flowers: green 1 to 2 ball-like clusters that flower in May.

Fascinating Facts

  • The flowers of the Sycamore tree consist of individual male and female florets that grow on separate twigs on the tree (5).
  • The Sycamore can live from 250 to 600 years in age (7).  After 200 or 300 years the trunk of becomes hollow inside, while the tree is living (6).
  • The Sycamore has the largest leaf of any tree native to North America (4).
  • One of the largest trees to exist between the Allegheny and Rocky mountains was a Sycamore that stood on the banks of Coffee Creek, about four miles below Mt. Carmel.  This tree stood 168 feet tall and had a diameter of 16 feet (6)!

Other interesting sites

Source Reference #4


1. - 10/22/01

2. - 10/22/01

3. - 10/22/01

4. - 10/22/01

5.  Little, Alfred A. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1995, 714 pp.

6. - 10/22/01

7. - 10/22/01

Created by: Kelley A. Pfromm

 Edited by: Julie Dill


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  Dr. Beverly Brown  

  Nazareth College of Rochester        

  Page last edited: 12/04/2003