Since I have a post that badmouths the London Planetree (Platanus x acerifolia), it seemed fitting to do a positive post about the native, and in my opinion better, relative. Meet the stately American Sycamore, (Platanus occidentalis.) One can’t help but notice this tree when the sky is bright blue and the trees are mostly bare of leaves. Their stark white bark is one of a kind and makes the American Sycamore stand apart from all of its neighbors. Its height sets it apart from others as well, reaching up to 120 ft tall and a spread of 150 ft. Don’t put this tree in a small, confining space! It will have to be removed quickly. The Sycamore also provides much in the way of wildlife benefits. The trunk cavities are a nesting site for some birds and mammals, finches eat the seeds in the late winter, and great blue herons are known to frequently nest here according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. Sycamores can be seen all over Missouri but there are some particularly impressive ones in Tower Grove Park, Forest Park, and the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Photo taken in Tower Grove Park

About the author