Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Sycamore, American Planetree, Buttonwood

Sycamore, American Planetree, Buttonwood

Platanus occidentalis

Full sun to light shade; wet to medium moisture level; prefers deep, rich, humusy soil but will grow in coarse sandy and gravelly loams to moderately fine sandy soils and silty clays; neutral to slightly alkaline pH.

75-100 feet height by 75-100 feet spread; yellow-green flowers in 1 inch diameter, ball-like clusters in early spring; globular,tan-brown fruit clusters, 1 inch in diameter, in late summer to early winter.

Growth Rate: Very fast. 70 feet in 20 years is not uncommon.

Maintenance: High maintenance. Frequent disease and insect problems. Sycamore anthracnose is a significant disease that severely damages foliage and twigs causing leaves to drop prematurely. If grown as a lawn tree, dropping twigs, leaves, bark and seeds can create a significant litter to clean up.

Propagation: Seed germination code A. Easy from seed.

Native Region: Statewide

A wide-canopied tree with a massive trunk and an open crown of huge, crooked branches. Grows to a larger trunk diameter than any other native hardwood and is generally regarded as the most massive tree indigenous to eastern North America. One of our best plants for bark effect in both summer and winter. Although it will tolerate light shade, it is best planted in full sun. For a fast growing tree, it is very long-lived with many trees surviving to 350 years. In spite of being often infected by a widespread fungus disease, sycamore anthracnose, trees are able to put out new leaves in spring and grow healthily year after year. Native to lowland areas reaching its largest size along streams, rivers and flood plains but also occurs occasionally on upland sites.

Very low wildlife value.

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