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Sycamore maple

Esk Sunset has beautiful colored leaves.

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.


Botanical name:

Acer pseudoplatanus

All Common Names:

sycamore maple, planetree maple

Family (English):

Soapberry (formerly Maple)

Family (Botanic):

Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)

Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median,
  • Restricted sites

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Parkway/street,
  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen

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


  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Road salt

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


  • 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 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.



Location of Acer pseudoplatanus (Sycamore maple) at the Arboretum