Platanus occidentalis

Sycamore (American Planetree)

The American sycamore is a large, fast–growing tree, with a wide spreading, irregularly shaped crown, and distinctive bark. With its large size, large leaves, and exfoliating bark, this tree is easy to spot in the landscape. Medium green leaves grow 4-9" wide and turn tan in the fall. Red-gray bark sheds to expose white to creamy inner bark; trunks can reach 10' in diameter. Non-showy flowers produce fruits that are 1" diameter round balls. The balls are commonly called buttonballs.

Many songbirds including the Purple Finch, Juncos, American Goldfinch, and the Carolina Chickadee eat the seeds.

These big trees shed leaves, fruit, and bark and are best suited to open areas in parks, golf courses, large open spaces, and in moist woodlands or along streams.

  • Native, deciduous shade tree
  • Well adapted to moist soil
  • Attractive exfoliating bark

  • Category: Tree, Wetland, Native
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-9
  • Height: 75-100 ft
  • Spread: 75-100 ft
  • Foliage Color: Green
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Landscape Characteristics
Bark Color
Branch Structure
Classification by Use
Native
Shade Tree
Animal Resistance
Deer Resistant
Attracts Wildlife
Attracts Songbirds
Habit
Spreading
Upright
Light Requirement
Sun
Foliage
Deciduous
Growth Rate
Fast
Moderate
Soil Moisture
Average Water
Well-Drained
Wet Soil/Wetlands
Foliage Color
Green
Yellow
Growing & Maintenance Tips for Platanus occidentalis

Prefers rich, deep soil, moist but well-drained soil. Full sun or light shade. Will grow in high pH soils; tolerates some air pollution and will grow near walnuts.