Sharing Simple Pleasures and Extravagant Finds in New England & Beyond
American Sycamore - notes from hortuscamden.com
Large tree with shallowly five-lobed leaves, mottled bark, the fruit balls usually single or in pairs and smoother than most other species.
The Sycamore inhabits the borders of streams and lakes and rich bottom-lands, and ranges from southeastern New Hampshire and southern Maine to northern Vermont and the valley of the Don near the northern shores of Lake Ontario, westward to eastern Nebraska and Kansas, and southward to northern Florida, central Alabama and Mississippi, and the valley of the Brazos River in Texas, and thence southwestward in Texas to the Devil's River valley. A common tree in all this region, it is most abundant and grows to its largest size on the bottom-lands of the basins of the lower Ohio and of the Mississippi Rivers.
It is largely used and is the favorite material for the boxes in which tobacco is packed, for ox-yokes, and butchers' blocks, and for furniture and the interior finish of houses.
The American Sycamore was introduced into English gardens by the younger Tradescant early in the seventeenth century, and the first account of it, published in 1640 in Parkinson's Theatrum Botanicum, relates to a tree cultivated in England. It is now occasionally planted in American and European parks and avenues, although as an ornamental tree its value is impaired by the fungal disease which strips it of its young leaves in spring, and stunts and often deforms its growth.
Always conspicuous from the pale often mottled bark which covers the upper parts of the trunk and branches, the Sycamore, which is the most massive if not the tallest deciduous-leaved tree of the North American forest, is a magnificent object as it grows in the deep alluvial soil of the bottom-lands of the Mississippi basin, with its long ponderous branches and its broad leafy crown of bright green cheerful foliage raised high above the heads of its sylvan associates
The American Sycamore Tree