Plant Guide > Trees > Sycamores



Genus PLATANUS, Linn.

Large, ornamental, deciduous trees with smooth limbs from which whitish bark peels in irregular flakes. Leaves simple, alternate, palmately lobed. Flowers monoecious in pendant heads. Fruits swinging, many-seeded balls, hanging all winter.

There are six species of the genus Platanus found in the Northern Hemisphere, and equally divided between the Old and New Worlds. The geologist finds evidences of much wider distribution for our sycamore than it now enjoys. The Arctic regions from Greenland west bore forests of these trees, and so did central Europe before the Glacial Epoch. The plane tree of Europe extends east to India.

The trees are all characterised by brittle, smooth bark of light colour, except on old trunks. The flaking off of this bark in irregular plates, leaving the white under layer exposed, enables the most casual observer to recognise the trees of this family by sight. The broad leaves, lobed like a maple's, and the hanging seed balls are striking characteristics.

Arizona Sycamore Tree
Buttonwood Sycamore Tree
California Sycamore Tree
Oriental Plane Sycamore Tree