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TREES & plants

Sycamore maple

Sycamore maple can be used as a street tree and as a shade tree. The dangling clusters of small yellow flowers are slightly showy in spring. This non-native species provides no fall color.

Botanical name: 
Acer pseudoplatanus
All Common Names: 
sycamore maple, planetree maple
Family (English): 
Soapberry (formerly Maple)
Family (Botanic): 
Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks, 
  • City parkway, 
  • Wide median, 
  • Restricted sites
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen, 
  • Shade tree, 
  • Parkway/street
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
40-60 feet
Mature Width: 
35-60 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Intolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Intolerant
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Attractive bark
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant, 
  • Yellow
Shape or Form: 
  • Round
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
Transplants Well: 
  • Moderate
Wildlife: 
  • Insect pollinators
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

Avoid pruning in early spring as maples are 'bleeders' and will lose large amounts of sap.
Tolerates a range of conditions.

Disease, pests, and problems

Verticillium wilt (fungus) is a potential serious problem.  Cankers are common.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Europe and Asia.

Bark color and texture 

Gray with a flaky quality that reveals the inner bark, giving the trunk a slightly mottled look.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple leaves in pairs (opposite); 3 to 6 inches long, with a toothed margin.
The 5 lobed leaves are dark green in summer.  Little to no fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, fragrant, pale yellow flowers in upright clusters. Clusters wiull start to hang as the fruit begins to develop.
Inconspicuous by themselves, but somewhat showy when the whole tree is in flower.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit are winged seeds in pairs (samaras);  each wing is 1 to 2 inches long and the two wings are spread at a sixty degree angle..
Green, maturing to brown.  The fruit hang in dangling clusters.

 

 

Acer pseudoplatanus or Sycamore maple