Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

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

Platanus occidentalis

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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