American sycamore
Platanus occidentalis

Sycamore is a large, deciduous species of wide distribution across the eastern and central U.S. It commonly occurs along the banks of waterways and adjacent bottomlands, although it has proven adaptable and has even been planted widely on mine spoils. Sycamore's eye-catching white and gray exfoliating bark has led to considerable ornamental use.

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Light Fall Color Water
Growth   Size

Timber Value

      Sycamore is used for furniture, interior trim, boxes, pulpwood, particle and fiber board.


Wildlife Value
      Sycamore seeds are eaten by wildlife. The hollows in old riparian trees are often used as nesting sites for birds and mammals.
          Attracts: squirrels, muskrats, beavers, wood ducks, finches, chickadees, dark-eyed junco

Regeneration methods
      Sycamore's intermediate shade tolerance, fast growth, and generally pioneering nature allow for regeneration by various methods. Clearcut, seed-tree, shelterwood, and group selection methods are all viable options. Sycamore is also a vigorous stump sprouter.

Important Problems Early Detection tips
anthracnose spring defoliation; crooked, distorted branching

Fun facts
Sycamore produces biomass more rapidly than most other trees and develops into one of the most massive trees in the East. It is used for lumber and wood pulp.
Platanus: Greek "platanos" (broad or flat) / occidentalis: western - Latin "occidere" (to set, as the sun)
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2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.

questions, comments, and criticisms: email John.Peterson@vt.edu