CT moderately DR EcoR
Soil: Fertile, Well-drained
Light: Full Sun
Moisture: Average to Wet
Plant Height: 70 to 100 feet
Plant Width: to 100 feet
Pests: Anthracnose can cause partial defoliation
Landscape Value: A large tree for a large space. Great in low spots and along streams and ponds. Good as a shade tree or along woodland edges. If grown as a lawn tree, be aware that fallen twigs, peeling bark, leaves and fruiting balls require clean-up.
A wide-canopied, deciduous tree with a massive trunk (10 feet or more) and open crown of crooked branches. The gray to reddish-brown outer bark sloughs off in plates leaving the mottled, cream-colored or greenish inner bark. The bark of all trees must yield to a growing trunk by stretching, but sycamore bark is more rigid and less elastic than the bark of other trees so, to enable growth of the trunk, the tree sheds its outer bark. Large maple-shaped leaves turn yellow-brown in the fall. Dense heads of male or female flowers bloom in spring. Female flowers give rise to fuzzy, long-stalked, brown fruiting balls that ripen in October and persist through early winter. Fruiting balls contain densely-packed, seed-like fruits. Susceptible to wind damage as the root system is shallow. The tree’s heartwood decays quickly producing cavities that attract bats and cavity-nesting birds like wood ducks, barred owls, screech owls, and great-crested flycatchers. Tolerates black walnut and air pollution. Larval host to the sycamore tussock moth.
2 gallon pot, 3-4 feet tall
Maryland Biodiversity Project (photo by Robert Ferraro)
Native Plant Trust (photo by Arthur Haines)
North Carolina State Extension (photo by Cathy Dewitt)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, School of Natural Resources