American sycamore

(Platanus occidentalis)

Conservation Status
American sycamore
Photo by Bryce Boldt
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FACW - Facultative wetland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland






60 to 140




No records kept for non-native trees.


Flower Color




Similar Species


Moist. Streambanks, ravines.



  April and May  

Pests and Diseases

  Sycamore Anthracnose (Apiognomonia veneta)  



Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 24, 29, 30.

Distribution maps include locations where the species occurs in natural areas. This includes parks but does not include residential yards.




Native to the eastern half of United States, including Wisconsin and Iowa, and to Ontario.




Ubcommon in Minnesota

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Proteanae  


Protiales (proteas, lotuses, planes, and allies)  


Platanaceae (plane trees)  


Platanus (sycamore)  

Subordinate Taxa


American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis var. attenuata)

American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis var. glabrata)

American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis var. occidentalis)




Platanus glabrata

Platanus occidentalis var. glabrata


Common Names


American planetree

American sycamore




eastern sycamore












Visitor Photos

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Bryce Boldt

Sycamore Tree in Mountain Lake Minnesota.

Tree Trunk is 15 feet in diameter. Curious to how old this tree is.

  American sycamore    

Winter silhouette, American sycamore

  American sycamore    

American Sycamore towering 80' in Albert Lea, MN

  American sycamore    Photos



  Platanus occidentalis
Blake C. Willson
  Platanus occidentalis  

American Sycamore

  Platanus occidentalis
Angie Holmberg

Published on Jul 31, 2014





Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Trees with Don Leopold - American sycamore

Published on Oct 21, 2011

  American Sycamore Tree Identification - Platanus occidentalis

Published on Feb 16, 2013

How to identify American sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis. I've heard it's possible to tap the Sycamore and evaporate the sap to make maple syrup, but, I've never done it myself. American sycamore is, in fact, not a maple at all, the seeds and leaf arrangement are a dead giveaway.

American sycamore seeds are round, spiky, warty globes about the size of a golf ball, and look more like miniature Osage oranges than maple seeds, which are smaller and look like wings. American sycamore seeds may be a good late winter tinder for starting fires, there are many tiny fibers that make up the seed pod which may take a spark from a fire steel or could possibly be used to make a tinder nest.

American sycamore leaves appear quite similar to maple leaves, but, it's not a maple and is in it's own family, the plane-tree family or Platanaceae. Maples have opposite branching, sycamore has alternate branching. some folks refer to american sycamore as Big leaved maple.

American sycamore range distribution is across the eastern half of the United States, it seems to prefer lowland habitats near rivers, flood plains, and around lakes and ponds.

American sycamore bark is very distinct, having the pattern of woodland camouflage. The color of the bark ranges from white, to green, beige, brown and grey. The younger bark is smooth and patchy, the older bark is rough and flaky.

The above features make American sycamore stand out like a sore thumb, it's a real pretty tree and hard to mistake for any other.

It seems strange to me how common names are used, even stranger is how some plants are classified by botanists. If a tree has a maple leaf and can be tapped for maple syrup you'd think it would be classified as a maple, and if a tree is commonly referred to as a maple I'd think it would be a maple, but it's not. American sycamore is in a family all it's own.

Here's Craig's channel if you'd like to check it out: The sycamore he has over in the UK is a completely different tree and that's what led to the making of this video. I thought it was pretty neat to see his variety of sycamore. The sycamore over there is actually a maple tree.

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  Platanus occidentalis
VT Dendrology

Published on Mar 4, 2016

American sycamore

  **Sycamore Tree**++Platanus occidentalis++Street Fast Growing Tree++
Pat Rick

Uploaded on Jun 2, 2011 Need more information on Street Shade Trees? Follow the link below - The Sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis, is one of the favorite shade trees to plant along the street in the Southern States, like Georgia, Texas and Louisiana. The sycamore shade comes from one of the best of the fast growing tree list selections that are native to America.

  Our American Sycamore Trees We Grow
Great Falls

Published on Feb 17, 2015





Visitor Sightings

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Bryce Boldt

Location: Mountain Lake MN

Tree Trunk is 15 feet in diameter. Curious to how old this tree is.

American sycamore


Winter silhouette, American sycamore

American sycamore


Location: Albert Lea, MN

American Sycamore towering 80' in Albert Lea, MN

American sycamore






Created: 8/4/2016

Last Updated:

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