Platanus occidentalis

(Photo by Talisa Placide)

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Taxonomy (1,2)

Classification: Angiosperm, dicot
Family: Platanaceae
Common name: Sycamore, Buttonwood

General Information (1,2,3)

Region of Origin: United States
USDA Plants Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Growth Habit: Tree

  • Size: 75-100 feet
  • Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
  • Flowering: Mid-spring
  • Fruiting: Fall

Diagnostic Characteristics

Leaves (1)

  • Arrangement: Alternate
  • Simple/Compound: Simple
  • Shape: Lobed
  • Other: 4-9 inches, toothed margin

(Photo by Talisa Placide)

Stem/Bark (1)

  • Color: Gray-brown to red, white underlayer
  • Texture: Scaly

(Photo by Talisa Placide)

Flower (1,2,3)

  • Perfect/Imperfect: Imperfect (Monoecious)
  • Size: 0.5 inch
  • Inflorescence type: Head

Fruit (1,3)

  • Fruit type: Achenes

Horticultural Information (1,2,3)

  • Light: Full sun to partial shade 
  • Soil type: Sandy
  • Landscape Uses: Street trees, shade trees 
  • Other: Can handle poor drainage

Interesting Facts (3)

  • Out of all native trees, the sycamore has the broadest trunk


1) Dirr, Michael A. (1990). Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. Champaign, Illinois: Stipes Publishing Company.
2) 2012. Plantanus occidentalis. Floridata. Retrieved from
3) Tim Mcdowell. ETSU Arboretum Tree Of the Week. Retrieved from

Prepared by Talisa Placide as a course requirement for BIOL 3630/5630, Spring 2013
Edited by Jessica Bartek