SYCAMORE
File Size: 45 KB
 
Platanus occidentalis  L.
Geary County, Kansas
Height: 60-100 feet
Family: Platanaceae - Sycamore Family
Flowering Period:   April, May
Trunks: Straight and unbranched below or often dividing near ground into several secondary trunks; diameter 5 to 10 feet; crown broad, open, irregular; bark of young trees grayish-green and white-mottled; bark of mature trees pale reddish- or yellowish-brown, thin, with plate-like scales that separate and peel off, exposing greenish or whitish inner bark.
Twigs: Branches large, crooked, spreading; bark nearly white with thin greenish-brown sheets peeling off; twigs coarse, rigid, zigzag, enlarged at nodes; lateral buds conical, blunt, reddish-brown; leaf scar a narrow ring encircling the bud; bundle scars 5.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, deciduous, broadly egg-shaped or kidney-shaped, 2.5 to 8+ inches long and wide, thin, firm, palmately 3-5-veined, pubescent on veins below, glabrous when mature; light green above, paler beneath; 3-7-lobed or occasionally un-lobed; lobes broad, spaces between lobes shallow, rounded; basal lobes often smaller; margins coarsely-toothed to entire; stalks stout, 1 to 2.8 inches long; stiplues leaf-like.
Flowers: With the leaves; male and female flowers on same tree; borne in dense spherical heads; staminate heads greenish, .3 to .4 inch in diameter; stalks short, hairy; pistillate heads reddish, .4 to .5 inch in diameter; stalks long, slender; sepals 3-6, minute; petals 3-6, minute; stamens 3-6 (usually 4); styles long, red, incurved.
Fruit: October; achenes in spherical heads about 1 inch in diameter; persist through the winter; stalks slender, 3 to 6 inches long, drooping; achenes narrow, conical with wide end out, about .4 inch long, brown; tuft of brownish hairs around base, nearly equaling achene body.
Habitat: Borders of streams and lakes, rich bottom ground, moist woods; occasionally limestone uplands; rich or rocky alluvial soils.
Distribution: East half of Kansas
Origin: Native
Uses: Native Americans steeped the inner bark and took the tea for colds, coughs, dysentery, the measles, and tuberculosis. An infusion of sycamore and honey locust bark was used as a gargle to treat sore throats and an infusion of sycamore bark and roots was used to soak the feet for rheumatism..
Comments: Sycamore is one of the largest trees in Kansas and is sometimes planted as an ornamental. Greek platanus "flat" alluding to the leaves. The wood is heavy, tough, coarse-grained, pale reddish-brown, and is difficult to split.

Sycamore pistillate flowering head
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Geary County, Kansas
Sycamore
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Geary County, Kansas
Sycamore leaf
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Geary County, Kansas
Sycamore bark
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Geary County, Kansas
Sycamore ripening flower head
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Geary County, Kansas
Sycamore fruit
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Geary County, Kansas
Sycamore
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Geary County, Kansas
Sycamore in winter
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Sycamore branch
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Riley County, Kansas
Sycamore branches
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Riley County, Kansas
Sycamore bud
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Sycamore buds
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas