Sycamore tree facts

Updated February 21, 2017

The sycamore is a readily recognisable tree because of its bark, which resembles camouflage. The sycamore possesses large leaves and makes a wonderful shade tree, typically growing on the banks of rivers and streams in the eastern half of the nation.


The sycamore's trademark is a scaly bark that peels away to reveal a mottled colouring beneath it of whites, tans and greys. From a distance, people can mistake a sycamore as being dead, thinking the wood is rotten and the bark has stripped away.


Sycamores occur from southern sections of New England south to just north of Florida. They range westward as far as the Great Lakes states and into eastern Texas.


The leaves of the sycamore are immense and can be as wide as 15 inches. They have three lobes, are hairy underneath and on the stems, and they will fall off in the late autumn.


Sycamore wood has a course-grained texture and is hard enough for use in furniture, barrels and boxes. The entire sycamore trunk would serve as a dugout canoe of great size for some Native American tribes.


The sycamore will have male flowers as well as female flowers, which will develop into a fruit that looks like a wooden ball. It breaks wide open in the fall and the small seeds scatter everywhere on the wind.

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About the Author

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.