American Sycamore Platanus occidentalis Linnaeus

Status:

The American Sycamore is a common tree of floodplains and rich hardwood bottomlands throughout most of Maryland. On the lower Eastern Shore American Sycamore becomes very uncommon.

Description:

Easily identified by habitat and the mottled appearance of the bark. The broad leaves are also distinctive along with the round seed pod that hangs from a long stalk. Can be confused with the London Plane Tree (Platanus xacerifolia). The London Plane Tree is a hybrid sycamore that has been planted extensively in towns and cities across the United States. One of the easiest ways to differentiate between an American Sycamore and the hybrid London Plane Tree is habitat. American Sycamore is a tree of rich riverine bottomland while the London Plane Tree is a tree of streets and yards. The other way to easily differentiate between the two is by looking at the seed pods. American Sycamore has a single single seed pod per stem while the London Plane Tree has two seed pods per stem.

Where to find:

Along the Potomac River on the C&O Canal are many fine examples of large magnificent American Sycamores.

Relationships:

Host plant for various species of moth including Imperial Moth, Banded Tussock Moth, Sycamore Tussock Moth and American Dagger Moth. The leaves are mined by the micro-moths Ectoedemia platanella and Ectoedemia clemensella..

The weevil Myrmex myrmex feeds on dead and dying twigs.

Seeds are the primary food source of Sycamore Seed Bug.

There are 487 records in the project database.

View species at Maryland Plant Atlas

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An American Sycamore in Montgomery Co., Maryland (3/18/2017). Photo by Ashley Bradford. (MBP list)

An American Sycamore in Montgomery Co., Maryland (11/21/2012). Photo by Mike Ostrowski. (MBP list)

An American Sycamore growing in Montgomery Co., Maryland (3/18/2017). Photo by Ashley Bradford. (MBP list)

An American Sycamore in Allegany Co., Maryland (4/27/2014). Photo by Kimberly Booth. (MBP list)

American Sycamore growing in Frederick Co., Maryland (3/25/2016). Photo by Mark Etheridge. (MBP list)

A large American Sycamore hosting Carroll County's first nesting pair of Yellow-crowned Night-herons (Carroll Co., Maryland, 7/9/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

American Sycamore growing in Kent Co., Maryland (4/1/2016). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

American Sycamore in Washington Co., Maryland (3/11/2013). The bark at the base of older American Sycamores is typically not pealing. Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

An American Sycamore leaf in Allegany Co., Maryland (10/9/2011). Photo by Kimberly Booth. (MBP list)

American Sycamore in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/19/2011). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

American Sycamore in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/21/2017). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

American Sycamore in Caroline Co., Maryland (9/4/2016). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

American Sycamore in Harford Co., Maryland (12/6/2015). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

American Sycamore in Montgomery Co., Maryland (1/28/2017). Remnant of leafy stipule surrounding twig at point where previous year's leaf was attached. Photo by Bill Hill. (MBP list)

The bud of an American Sycamore in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (3/3/2013). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

The bud of an American Sycamore in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (3/3/2013). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

American Sycamore in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/18/2012). County Champion Sycamore, sixth largest in Maryland. Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)


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