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Similar but less problematic plants:
Platanus orientalis var. digitata Platanus orientalis var. digitata
Native alternative(s) for Acer pseudoplatanus:
Cornus florida Cornus florida
Liquidambar styraciflua Liquidambar styraciflua
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Quercus nigra Quercus nigra
Acer buergerianum Acer buergerianum tree
Acer ginnala Acer ginnala

Planetree Maple Acer pseudoplatanus

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
AY-ser soo-doh-PLUH-ta-nus
Description

Sycamore maple or planetree maple is a deciduous tree in the Sapindaceae (soapberry) family native to northwest/Central Europe and Western Asia. It is a rounded, spreading, tree that grows 40-60’ (less frequently to 115’) tall.

This tree is tolerant of various soils, drought, pollution and salty air. It grows in full sun to partial shade down to zone 7. It isn't particularly ornament and can become weedy and invasive. The winged seeds are carried by the wind and readily germinate just about anywhere. In some parts of New England, it has been banned from being planted.

Quick ID

  • exfoliating bark
  • bud remains green throughout the winter

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Canker is an issue for this tree.

VIDEO created by Ryan Contreras for “Landscape Plant Materials I:  Deciduous Hardwoods and Conifers or Landscape Plant Materials II:  Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Atropurpureum'
    Dark, showy foliage.
  • 'Brilliantissimum'
    Young foliage shrimp-pink.
  • 'Esk Sunset'
    Showy foliage.
  • 'Nizetii'
    Variegated foliage.
  • Purpureum
    Green to blue-green leaves. Underside light green with red/purple tinge.
'Atropurpureum', 'Brilliantissimum', 'Esk Sunset', 'Nizetii', Purpureum
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#moths#weedy#salt tolerant#high maintenance#air pollution tolerant#salt spray tolerant#pollinator plant#larval host plant#deciduous tree#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#moth larvae#imperial moth#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Atropurpureum'
    Dark, showy foliage.
  • 'Brilliantissimum'
    Young foliage shrimp-pink.
  • 'Esk Sunset'
    Showy foliage.
  • 'Nizetii'
    Variegated foliage.
  • Purpureum
    Green to blue-green leaves. Underside light green with red/purple tinge.
'Atropurpureum', 'Brilliantissimum', 'Esk Sunset', 'Nizetii', Purpureum
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#moths#weedy#salt tolerant#high maintenance#air pollution tolerant#salt spray tolerant#pollinator plant#larval host plant#deciduous tree#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#moth larvae#imperial moth#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acer
    Species:
    pseudoplatanus
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Shade tree
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northwest/central Europe and western Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Acer support Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) larvae which have one brood per season and appear from April-October in the south. Adult Imperial Moths do not feed.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Salt and air pollution tolerant, tolerant of some drought
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 25 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Samaras (to 2” long) with wings typically forming a 60-degree angle. Samaras mature in early autumn and are spread by the wind. Seeds readily germinate.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Insignificant , yellow-green flowers appear in panicles (to 5” long) in spring after the foliage emerges.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Insignificant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leathery, coarsely-serrate, prominently-veined, 5-lobed, dark green leaves (to 6” across) are dull green beneath. Leaves produce no fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Rectangle
    Bark Description:
    Bark on mature trunks will flake, exposing inner orange bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Only 1 terminal bud, larger than side buds
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Glabrous, gray-brown, dull, lenticelled, slightly 4-sided, leaf scars that do not meet.
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Pollution
    Salt
    Problems:
    Weedy