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Free Images of American Sycamore Trees
Platanus occidentalis - American Sycamore 

Note on large files:  Very large files may be bigger than your screen.  
Right click on any portion of the image showing and chose "save as". 



Platanus occidentalis is commonly known as the "American Sycamore, American Planetree, Occidental Plane" and "Buttonwood or Buttonball-Tree".  It is found in floodplains that have rich soil and plenty of water.

This species of tree can live up to 250 years!  It is a fast-growing tree that grows to a height of 90 to 100 feel and has irregular spreading branches..  The images below are of a tree that is approximately 25 years old. 

The easiest way to recognize an American Syamore is by its mottled flaky bark.  Jigsaw shaped bark flakes fall off to expose a pale inner bark which is a creamy white colour.  Branches grow in a zig-zag pattern.  The thin, multi-coloured bark that functions as a defense against pests and disease.  They are, however, susceptible to  powdery mildew and bacterial leaf scorch, ozone damage and late spring frosts.The trunk and large branches form curves, lumps and bulges.  Leaves are similar to those of a Maple tree and have irregular edges and somewhat ragged leaves.

P. occidentalis can be distinguished from Western native sycamores Platanus racemosa (California Sycamore) and Platanus wrightii (Arizona Sycamore) since these have star-shaped leaves and a white or almost white inner bark.

Distinquishing P. occidentalis from Platanus X acerfolia - the London Planetree - is more difficult since the latter is a hybrid between the Amercian Sycamore and an oriental planetree, Platanus orientalis.  The London Planetree has more an inner bark that has more of a yellow appearance.

The fruit produced by an American Sycamore look like one inch brown balls which hang on stalks.  They are sometimes known as "buttonballs".  The American Sycamore produces one seed ball per stem while the London Planetree produces 2 or 3 in cluster.  Although I could not confirm this, I was told that the seeds contain tiny hairs that are harmful if inhaled.

Sycamore trees are not particularly useful to wildlife - seeds are sometimes eaten by small birds and squirrels.  Deer don't like them very much.  Trees are planted for their interesting appearance and majesty.



Hand holding American Sycamore green leaf.

Sycamore - 1 
Difficult to differentiate, the American Sycamore is often replaced with Platanus x acerifolia, the London Plane because it tolerates pollution better and grows with limited root space.

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4225 x 3169  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.


Despite causing some problems, Sycamores are popular trees.  The root systems that provide great support and make the trees resistant to wind, also clog sewers and heave sidewalks and driveways.  Large limbs fall during ice storms.  Spring flowers are very bad allergens.  


American Sycamore Platanus occidentalis deciduous tree.

Sycamore - 2

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 3102 x 4135  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.



Flaking bark of American Sycamore tree.

Sycamore - 3

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 3456 x 4608  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.



Flaking bark of Platanus occidentalis tree.

Sycamore - 4

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.



Green leaves of American Sycamore tree.

Sycamore - 5

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4002 x 3001  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.


Green png leaf of American Sycamore Platanus occidentalis

Sycamore - 6 - png
Note:  This is a png image with a clear background.

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 3631 x 2723  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.


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The Wonder 
of Trees




"Even if I knew 
that tomorrow 
the world 
would go to pieces, 
I would still plant 
my apple tree."

~ Martin Luther ~









"I think that I 
shall never see
A poem as lovely
as a tree.

A tree whose hungry 
mouth is pressed,
Against the earth's 
sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks 
at God all day
And lifts her leafy 
arms to pray;

A tree that may 
in Summer wear
A nest of robins
 in her hair;

Upon whose bosom 
snow has lain;
Who intimately 
lives with rain.

Poems are made 
by fools like me,
but only God 
can make a tree."

~ Joyce Kilmer ~
"Trees" 1914









"The best time
to plant a tree
was 20 years ago.
The next best
time is now."

~ Chinese Proverb ~






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