Image for American Sycamore

American Sycamore

Scientific name

Platanus occidentalis


American Sycamore is a large, fast-growing deciduous tree that can reach heights up to 35 m and is known to be one of the largest trees in Eastern North America. It may also be referred to as Eastern Sycamore, Buttonwood, Buttonball-tree, or American Plane-tree. The outer bark of American Sycamore is a mottled reddish-brown colour and has scales that flake off to reveal white inner bark. The leaves are 10-20 cm, bright green coloured, with 3-5 lobes, and have irregularly toothed margins. The flowers are tiny and arranged in dense heads, with male flowers being yellowish-green, and female flowers reddish in colour. The female flowers develop into fuzzy, brownish fruiting balls that are 2.5-3 cm and mature in early fall. The seeds from American Sycamore are consumed by small mammals and, less frequently songbirds.

Planting conditions

American Sycamore grows in normal to moist conditions, but prefers rich, moist soils. It is tolerant to a wide range of soil types, including loam, clay, silt, sand, or gravelly material. American Sycamore is a moderately shade-tolerant species that thrives in full sun or part shade. American Sycamore can naturally be found growing in lowland areas, floodplains, and along streams and rivers. In Canada, American Sycamore is only found growing in the most southern parts of Ontario.


  • Plant height:
    • Any
    • Over 3m
  • Moisture level:
    • Normal
    • Moist
    • Flood Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Clay
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 5a
  • Plant type:
    • Tree
  • Height:
    • 35m
  • Spread:
    • 20-30 m