There are various interesting facts associated with the sycamore tree, highlighting its physical features, characteristics, and history. Read this article to learn more about some fascinating facts about US variety of this tree.
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, a native Central European tree, grows largely in hilly or mountainous regions. On an average, the sycamore, a tree with beautiful yellow leaves lives up to 400 – 600 years!
Sycamore trees are easily identified with their giant size. It can grow as tall as 30 – 40 meters (or 98 to 130 ft), and its diameter can be as big as 1.5 – 2 meters (or 4.9 to 6.6 ft).
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 name “Sycamore” is derived from ancient Greek word ‘sūkomoros’ (meaning ‘fig-mulberry’) and was borrowed in English via Latin and Old French languages.
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 in vast landscapes and hilly or mountainous areas or in in valleys as well. They require exposure to full sun for a healthy growth, but can thrive even in lesser sunlight amidst mixed jungles of beeches and pines. 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. They mostly grow near rivers, streams, and in bottom lands; otherwise the trees develop deep roots. However, they are intolerant to flooding of the soil during its growing stage. The annual precipitation requirement of a sycamore tree is 30-80 inches. Regular watering is must for a newly planted sycamore because if the soil dries out, 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 US variety of this unique tree.