simple, 5-9" long, 3 to 5 lobes with many teeth, similar in
looks to sugar maple. Leaves are broader than long, nearly
hairless, pale green beneath, the veins are fuzzy and is short
stemmed. The sycamore leaves turn orange-brown and yellow in the
flower April- June, stamine is red, pistillate is green with
with red stigmas.
Fruit. The fruit is
small balls on long stems, full of pointed seeds which are
carried by the wind. Sycamore deed can hang on the tree through
Winter Buds. The
buds are short, 1/4-3/8", stout, covered by a single scale,
covered by the leaf stem in the summer. There is no terminal
Bark. Bark is one
of the outstanding features of American sycamore. It is
distinctive brown bark with mottled areas of light green, flaky,
as the bark falls off in irregular plates it exposes a whitish
to yellow under bark. Twigs are pale green.
Wood. The wood is
heavy, 35 pounds per cubic foot, hard, tough, somewhat weak,
difficult to split, difficult to work with, warps badly as
lumber, takes polishing well, coarse grained, light brown with
darker sapwood. Wood is preferred for tobacco boxes, butcher
block, has been used for railroad ties, cheap furniture, fence
posts as it's durable in contact with the ground, and
can affect sycamore by infecting twigs and branches. Prune
branches while dormant. Some fungicides are effective in
controlling the disease. leaf scorch, powdery mildew and canker
stain also affect sycamores.
Sycamore has a fairly extensive range in the eastern US.
Maine to Minnesota down to Texas and east to Florida. In
Michigan it's native range is the southern third of the lower
peninsula. In my travels I have only found about 4 up here in
the north country, all planted by fellow tree lovers.
largest tree native to the eastern US. Not as long lived as the
sequoias of the west, maybe 400-600 years. In my teen years, the
1960's, we would camp out and hike down by the Grand river east
of Grand Ledge. On the neighbors farm there were some unusual
trees and one of which was what we now realize was a "stump" of
a long dead sycamore. The stump was probably 10 feet in
diameter. We could walk inside the hollow stump and the side
walls were over our head. I figured we could get 20 people
inside the stump and still have room for more. I wished I would
have taken a photo of the stump but alas, youth...Not important
then. My brother and I went to look for it in the late 90's but
it had been bulldozed for a new house.