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.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median,
- Restricted sites
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil,
- Road salt
- Attractive bark
Season of Interest:
- Mid spring
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Insect pollinators
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 will 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.
Cultivars and their differences
Eskimo Sunset sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus 'Esk Sunset'): New leaves open orange-pink and then mature to deep green with spotches of cream and pink. Undersides of leaves are purple.
Regal Petticoat® sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus 'Tunpetti'): New leaves emerge tinged with burgundy. Petioles are red. In summer, the leaves are green with burgundy undersides. The leaves turn yellowish, with salmon-colored undersides in autumn.