American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) –

Commonly called sycamore, Eastern sycamore or American sycamore; is a deciduous, usually single-trunk tree that grows to 75-100’ tall with horizontal branching and a rounded canopy. The trunk ranges from 3-8’ diameter. The most interesting part of this giant tree is its brown bark which peels off in pieces to reveal its cream-colored inner bark; mature trees will have marbled white bark. The large lobed dark green leaves (4-10” wide) have deep marginal teeth. In fall, foliage typically turns yellow brown. Small, non-showy (male and female) flowers appear in small round clusters in April. Female flowers are reddish that give way to fuzzy, brown, long-stalked, fruiting balls (to 1 3/8” diameter) that ripen to in October and will persist into early winter. The “fruits” will eventually disintegrate late in fall releasing numerous, densely packed, tiny seeds, often immersed in downy fluffs that float in the wind.

 London Planetree (Platanus × acerifolia) –

The London planetree is a hybrid between an American sycamore (P. occidentalis) and an Oriental planetree (P. orientalis). This hybrid can be difficult to distinguish from its American parent. Distinguishing features include: Leaves have more pronounce veins and the fruit balls appear in pairs. It typically grows as a single, straight, trunk tree 75-100 ft tall with widespread branching and a rounded habit. Trunk diameter typically ranges from 3-8 ft. The trademark feature of this huge tree is its brown bark, which breaks away in irregular pieces to reveal its creamy white inner bark. Mature trees have mottled white bark. The large 3-5 lobed, dark green leaves (4-9” wide) which resemble a maple, have coarse marginal teeth. In fall, foliage usually turns an uninspiring yellow brown. Female flowers are reddish that give way to fuzzy, brown, long-stalked, fruiting balls (to 1 3/8” diameter) that will appear in pairs and ripen to in October, the fruit can persist into early winter. The “fruits” will eventually disintegrate late in fall releasing numerous, densely packed, tiny seeds, often immersed in downy fluffs that float in the wind. 


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