Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Sycamore
Platanus occidentalis
Platanaceae

Leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous, palmately veined, large, and with 3-5 roughly toothed lobes. Twigs are zigzag with 'dunce-cap' buds and leaf scars encircling the buds. Bark is brown and peels to expose striking white inner bark. Fruit is a round ball of achenes. Form is a very large tree up to 42 m (140 ft) in height and 3 m (10 ft) in diameter. Sycamore is found in moist areas in the east and central U.S. and is intermediate in shade tolerance. The yellow-brown, coarse wood is used for pulpwood, veneer, butcher blocks and pallets. This species is a den tree for wildlife.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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