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American Sycamore

Scientific Name:

Platanus occidentalis




Low elevation, moist woodlands and floodplains


Eastern half of the United States


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


American sycamores can be noticed by their tough, thick bark on the lower parts of their trunks and nearly white, soft bark further upwards. These trees are deciduous; their leaves are simple palmate and have noticeably thick veins all spreading from a singular point. Their flowers are tiny and typically bloom in May, and their seed pods are large, brown balls which fall to the ground each spring. American sycamores can grow between 75 and 100 feet tall.

Fast Facts:

  • American sycamore trees produce both male and female flowers on a single tree. This is called monoecious in the scientific community.

  • The brown, spiky seed-pods can be pesky, and are poisonous to consume.

  • American sycamores are often cultivated and planted as shade trees in urban areas, including here in the Truckee Meadows.



Bridget Mulkerin (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

July 12, 2021 at 9:08:47 PM

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