Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore) Unity Grown
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Platanus occidentalis, commonly referred to as the American sycamore, is a large, fast-growing tree native to large areas of the eastern half of North America, noted for its large, palmate leaves and exfoliating mottled bark in shades of white, gray, and brown. American sycamore can growth to heights of 75' to 100' tall, with massive trunks between five and eight feet thick (one historical record lists a sycamore with a trunk that was 15-16' in diameter!). Autumn foliage turns a brilliant shade of golden yellow before it falls, revealing the eye-catching bark, which adds winter interest to any environment.
Still highly prized for its multi-purpose lumber, Platanus occidentalis also makes for an excellent and versatile specimen or shade tree in large yards or parks, with strong wood, large canopies, and tolerance to a variety of environmental conditions, including wet and flooded areas, which makes it a great addition to stream banks and erosion control projects. American sycamore is also a valuable ecological specimen to boot.
With its large size, it has plenty of room for wildlife to shelter, and its seeds are highly prized by juncos, finches, and the Carolina chickadee as well as small mammals. Pollinators are attracted to the tree's small, inconspicuous, ball-shaped flowers, and several insect species use the tree as a host plant. Platanus occidentalis is also moderately resistant to damage from deer browsing.