General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 75-100 feet
Plant Spread: 75-100 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Other
Fruit: Showy
Other
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Other: Yellow (male) and red (female)
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Other: April
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Provides winter interest
Erosion control
Shade Tree
Water gardens
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Butterflies
Other Beneficial Insects: 45 species of common caterpillars use it as host
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Flood Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Pollinators: Wind
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Monoecious
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
Image
Common names
  • American Sycamore
  • Buttonwood
  • American Planetree
  • Western Plane
  • Water Beech
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Platanus occidentalis
  • Synonym: Platanus occidentalis var. palmeri

Photo Gallery
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2015-10-28

Date: 2016-10-06
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2015-01-29
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: 2012-07-20
Location: White Pine nature preserve, Chatham county, North Carolina
Date: February 10, 2023
American Sycamore #21; RAB p.531, 96-1-1; LHB p.493, "Greek for p
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2015-02-11

Date: 2016-10-06
Location: White Pine nature preserve, Chatham county, North Carolina
Date: February 10, 2023
American Sycamore #21; RAB p.531, 96-1-1; LHB p.493, "Greek for p
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: 2012-10-13
bark of young tree
Location: White Pine nature preserve, Chatham county, North Carolina
Date: February 10, 2023
American Sycamore #21; RAB p.531, 96-1-1; LHB p.493, "Greek for p
Location: Fairfax, VA | September 2022
Location: White Pine nature preserve, Chatham county, North Carolina
Date: February 10, 2023
American Sycamore #21; RAB p.531, 96-1-1; LHB p.493, "Greek for p
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2012-12-07
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2013-11-07

Date: 2016-11-01
Location: Aberdeen, NC Pages Lake park
Date: July 4, 2022
American Sycamore #21; RAB p.531, 96-1-1;  LHB p.493, "Greek for
Location: Aberdeen, NC
Date: September 23, 2021
American Sycamore #21; RAB p.531, 96-1-1;  LHB p.493, "Greek for
Location: Chadds Ford at Brandywine Battlefield Park, PA
Date: 2018-08-10
trunk
Location: Chadds Ford at Brandywine Battlefield Park, PA
Date: 2018-08-10
major boughs
Location: Natural Area in Northeastern Indiana
Date: 2011-10-03
Lovely exfoliating bark on a twenty or less year old plant.
Location: zone 8 North Central, Fl.
Date: 2017-12-23
Location: Fountain, Florida
Date: 2015-09-24
Actually I think this is more sapling then seedling
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2015-10-28
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: 2012-07-20
roots along the White river
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: 2012-10-13
bark of older tree
Location: Aberdeen, NC 
Date: July 31, 2022
American Sycamore #21; RAB p.531, 96-1-1;  LHB p.493, "Greek for
Location: Natural Area in Northeastern Indiana
Date: 2011-10-03
From my viewpoint, still one of the best large landscape and shad
Location: In a street median in Oklahoma City
Date: 11-06-2016 
American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) in OkC 001

Date: 2021-09-26
Location: my garden zone 5 Indiana
Date: 2017-02-23
Location: Zilker Nature Preserve, Austin, Texas
Date: 2022-04-05
Location: Aberdeen, NC
Date: October 4, 2021
American Sycamore #21; RAB p.531, 96-1-1;  LHB p.493, "Greek for

Date: c. 1865
illustration by H. J. Redouté from Michaux's 'The North American
Location: Fairfax, VA | March, 2023
Date: 2023-03-25
Location: Fairfax, VA | May, 2023
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2013-08-04
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2013-08-04
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2013-04-13
Location: Chadds Ford at Brandywine Battlefield Park, PA
Date: 2018-08-10
huge, old specimen
Location: Delaware county, OH
Date: 2013-06-25
The plant on the left is a mystery.
Location: Aberdeen, NC 
Date: July 31, 2022
American Sycamore #21; RAB p.531, 96-1-1;  LHB p.493, "Greek for
Location: March 2023 | Fairfax VA
Date: 2023-03-04
Location: Natural Area in Northeastern Indiana
Date: 2011-10-03
I've seen leaves of this species at a size of ten inches and more
Location: zone 8 North Central, Fl.
Date: 2017-11-19
Location: zone 8 North Central, Fl.
Date: 2017-11-19
Location: Toledo Botanical Gardens, Toledo, Ohio
Date: 2012-08-10
Rainy weather brings up deeper color in the already colorful bark
Location: Abandoned quarry in western Illinois
Date: 2014-07-29
Location: Fountain, Florida
Date: 2015-09-24
a young leaf on a sapling/seedling rather then a mature leaf
Location: Pacific Northwest, zone 8
Date: 2014-07-07
Location: Indian Cave State Park in Nebraska
Date: 2012-05-16
Location: New York Botanical Garden
Date: June 2017
Location: IL
Date: 2016-04-23
Taken at local forest preserve.
Location: IL
Date: 2016-04-23
Taken at local forest preserve.
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2013-04-13
Location: Fountain, Florida
Date: 2011-11-06
showing a little fall color
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: 2012-10-13
close-up bark older tree
Location: Fairfax VA | January 2023
Location: Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois.
Date: June
credit: Bruce Marlin
Location: Northeastern, Texas
Date: 2015-07-24
Looking up
Location: Fountain, Florida
Date: 2011-10-30
Location: Fairfax, VA | July, 2022
Date: 2022-07-23
Location: Fountain, Florida
Date: 2011-10-30
these are the seed \"balls\"
Location: Fountain, Florida
Date: 2011-10-30
Love my sycamore, but it sure does drop alot of branches when the
Location: Niagra Falls, Canada | August, 2022
Date: 2022-07-31
Location: Lilburn, GA
Date: 2019-04-09
Spring green up

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Fairfax, VA | March, 2023
Date: 2023-03-25
Location: Savannah, Georgia, USA
Date: 2014-05-08
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2015-09-23
Location: Fairfax, Virginia (April 2022)
Date: 2022-04-30
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2013-08-04
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2013-04-13
Seed pod hanging from the tree
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2013-04-13
The limb of a 34 yr. old tree
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2013-04-13
The trunk of a 34 yr. old tree
Location: Perelman Park, Manheim Township, Lancaster County Pennsylvania
Date: 2016-07-21
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2013-04-13
Location: Northeastern, Texas
Date: 2015-08-01
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2013-04-24
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2013-12-17

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Salem, Oregon, zone 8
Date: 2013-12-24
Fog in the background
Location: Salem, Oregon, zone 8
Date: 2013-12-24
Adult standing by tree, for perspective on size of tree.
Location: Conestoga River at Perelman Park near Lancaster PA
Date: 2016-07-21
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Comments:
  • Posted by sallyg (central Maryland - Zone 7b) on Sep 14, 2019 4:20 PM concerning plant:
    American Sycamore is a common tree along many highways in Maryland, and found in many parks near rivers.One beautiful specimen is the Witness Tree at Antietem National Battlefield. One can stand in utter peace on the stone bridge over a beautiful clear stream, near the massive tree, and reflect on the history of the site.

    It is a messy tree, not a good choice for all yards, as it drops bark and twigs and has large leaves. Despite the mess, I have two sycamores in my yard and love them for their nature value and unique character.
  • Posted by gingin (Fountain, Florida - Zone 8b) on Apr 3, 2019 8:39 AM concerning plant:
    When Hurricane Michael hit here in the Florida panhandle I was really scared that my huge sycamore would fall and destroy my house. It lost lots of large branches but the tree still stands straight and tall much to my joy!
  • Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on Feb 6, 2012 11:31 PM concerning plant:
    When I was growing up in Centerville, OH (a southern suburb of Dayton, OH), my parents planted an American Sycamore on their quarter-acre lot, as well as other types of trees. My dad planted it within a year of building the house and they had the house for 16 years. As the years went by, that tree shaded the whole house in the summer so well that the AC didn't have to be used.

    Then, when they moved to Lebanon, OH, and built another house, they already had American Sycamores growing on their 5-acre property.

    I always loved seeing those beautiful trees! To this day, whenever I see an American Sycamore, I remember the wonderful trees growing in the Centerville and the Lebanon yards!

    DH and I don't have a large enough yard to grow this wonderful tree, but if we did, we'd grow it!

    Love the peelings on the bark and the distinctive white bark color underneath the peelings!
  • Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on Mar 25, 2012 3:55 PM concerning plant:
    Honey bees get light olive pollen and honeydew from this plant.
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Aug 11, 2018 6:43 PM concerning plant:
    The American Sycamore is a common tree in much of its native range from southern New England down to the Florida border into much of east Texas up to most of Iowa and Illinois to southern Michigan to the southeast tip of Ontario. growing mostly in rich bottomlands and along watercourses. It is fast growing of 2.5 to 3.5 feet/year and often lives over 350 years. Its leaves are 4 to 8 inches wide and have 3 to 5 shallow lobes. The buttonball dry fruits hang singly on the twigs. Sycamore is messy by dropping lots of twigs, pieces of bark, the buttonball fruits, and large leaves, but it is basically wind-firm. It has a shallow, fibrous root system and is easy to transplant. It does get picked on badly many years, when it is a cool, wet spring, by leaf anthracnose, a fungi disease, that causes most of the young leaves to darken and die, but a second crop comes forth. This causes some witches-brooming of twigs. It is a host plant to about 45 species of beneficial caterpillar species, and it does get picked on by other insects that are not so beneficial as sycamore lacebug, aphids, and spider mites. This is a fine, beautiful tree for large areas, not for small yards. On the grounds of the Brandywine Battlefield Park in Chadds Ford, PA, near the Gideon Gilpin farmhouse, there is a huge specimen with a plaque saying that the tree was alive when the Constitution was ratified in 1787.
Plant Events from our members
WebTucker On September 23, 2021 Obtained plant
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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Love your pic Chelle! by Marilyn Feb 7, 2012 5:59 PM 2
Wonderful photo! by plantladylin Aug 11, 2013 1:53 PM 4
Not river birch by growitall Aug 18, 2014 8:43 AM 2
Beautiful!!! by TsFlowers Nov 9, 2017 1:32 PM 5
Be-a-u-T-i-ful!! by TsFlowers Nov 8, 2017 12:13 PM 2
a 15 photo composite of american sycamore leaves in the fall by jathton Oct 24, 2019 11:37 AM 0

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