American Sycamore

Scientific Name: Platanus occidentalis

American Sycamore Tree



Plant Family



Eastern half of the United States


Pyramidal in youth

Plant Size

75-90 feet tall, 60-70 feet wide


The American sycamore is commonly confused with the London plane tree because of their similarly patterned, mottled, exfoliating bark. Telling them apart is easier when the trees are mature. Older American sycamore trees maintain a thick band of dark bark at their base, with stark white upper branches, while London plane bark exfoliates all the way down to the roots giving the tree a mottled, almost camouflage appearance. The American sycamore is native to the United States, and is one of the trees used to hybridize the London plane. It is commonly found near water bodies like streams and ponds, or where the water table is close to the surface. Another common name for the American sycamore is the "buttonwood tree." Today's New York Stock Exchange was started beneath an American sycamore on Wall Street, and the document establishing the exchange was called the Buttonwood Agreement.

American Sycamore Leaf


6-10 inches long, alternate arrangement, simple, three to five lobes
American Sycamore Fruit


1 inch diameter; rounded, tannish-brown; found solitary
American Sycamore Flower


Separate male and female flowers
American Sycamore Bark


Surface sheds in layers, low branched, white inner bark, zigzag stems