The American sycamore tree occurs from central portions of New England southward to northern Florida and west to the Great Plains. A potentially large and massive tree, the sycamore’s leaves are quite distinct and easily identifiable.
Size and Form
Sycamore leaves can be from 4 to 8 inches across, with a similar length. The shapes can vary, but sycamore leaves typically possess from three to five lobes, with the lobes separated by shallow sinuses. The “National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees” notes that the edges are “wavy” and that the leaves have as many as five main veins fanning out from their bases.
The color of the sycamore leaf is a bright green on its upper surface, with the undersides being much paler shades of green. In the autumn, rather than change into a brilliant hue, sycamore leaves turn brown before they fall off the tree.
In the springtime, when wet weather often prevails, a fungal disease called anthracnose can affect sycamore leaves, making them wilt away and quickly die. Although you may notice that the blighted leaves seem to roll up before falling off, new leaves will grow in to replace the dead ones.
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Sycamore
- "National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees"; Elbert L. Little; 2008
- "Trees of North America"; C. Frank Brockman; 1996
- Photo Credit sycamore image by Jan Rakic from Fotolia.com
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