The scientific name of a sycamore tree is Platanus Occidentalis. It is also often referred to as an American sycamore tree. It belongs to the family of Platanaceae, which is one of the oldest tree family in the world.
Age Old Facts
Various scientific evidences suggest that this tree family is existing on the earth for more than 100 million years. The sycamore tree was a native Central European tree but today it's no longer found in the Central Europe. On an average, the sycamore tree lives up to 400 - 600 years!
The Naming Ceremony
The distinguishing feature of a sycamore tree is its bark. It has patches of creamy white and reddish-brown color all over its surface. The dark-colored bark is the part of the old tree and the light color is the fresh bark. It is believed that the tree has got its name "Sycamore" because of the peeling flakes of its bark which make it look 'sick' all the time!
Leaves and Fruits of the Sycamore Tree
The leaves are broad and flat with sharp uneven edges. The size of the leaves varies from 4 - 6 inches in length. The tree shed its leaves in autumn and new leaves come in spring. Its fruits appear as a brownish woody ball that ripe in the month of October. It will hang from the tree all through the winter months and then break into seeds.
Favorable Landscape and Temperature
The sycamore trees can grow only in vast landscapes. It requires exposure to full sun for its healthy growth. Insufficient light can have a negative impact on its health. The favorable temperature range for this tree is 40º – 70º F.
Watering a Sycamore Tree
A sycamore tree prefers nutrient rich, moist soil conditions with proper drainage for its growth. For this reason, they mostly grow near rivers, streams, and in bottom lands. However, they are intolerant towards flooding of the soil during its growing season. The annual precipitation requirement of a sycamore tree is 30 - 80 inches. Regular watering is a must for a newly planted sycamore. This is because, if the soil dries out, then the plant is prone to pest infestation.
Nurturing a Sycamore Tree
Nitrogen-rich fertilizer is most suitable for this tree. In winter months, its roots should be protected from heavy frosts by covering up the soil with two inches thick layer of mulch. The upward shoots of a young sycamore should be pruned every winter to keep the plant in shape. The diseased and damaged portions of the tree can be trimmed throughout the year. If the tree is nurtured properly it will reach its maturity quite rapidly. In a span of twenty years, it can reach a height of 100 feet!
Symbolism of a Sycamore Tree
A sycamore tree symbolizes strength, protection, eternity, and divinity. In Egypt, it is portrayed as representation of Egyptian goddesses in the book named "Book of the Dead". It has its reference in Bible as well. In America, during the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, a 168 year old sycamore tree in Brandywine Battlefield Park, Pennsylvania, sheltered large troops of General Washington. Since then, it became a symbol of protection and hope for the Americans.
Wood of a Sycamore Tree
The sycamore trees are broad, thus giving us an excellent shade. Its timber is tough and is hard to split. Hence, it is used for making furniture, musical instruments, butcher blocks, etc.
Hope the physical and historical facts provided in this article have enriched your knowledge about this unique tree.