Be A Nature Detective: What Tree has Camouflage Bark?

The American sycamore! This massive tree is often mistaken for a maple because of its leaves.  It is unique amongst all trees because of its bark pattern.

Are there other names for the sycamore tree?
It is also called an American planetree, buttonwood or the buttonball tree.

Where does it grow?
This hardy tree likes wet soil. It can be found growing in every state east of the Great Plains, except Minnesota.

How big will it get?
It can grow up to 90' tall. t is also North America's largest native broadleaf plant.

Why Buttonwood?
Because of the round 1" ball-type fruit that hang from its limbs.

Deciduous or Evergreen?
The sycamore will lose its leaves.

What happens to the bark as the tree gets older? 
The camouflage pattern eventually turns to white on a mature sycamore tree.

What's in a name?
It’s botanical name, Platanus occidentalis, derives from “platy,” Greek for broad, and “occidere,” Latin for “to set, as in the sun,” meaning of the west.

Here is a link for more facts about the sycamore.

© Diane Chase, author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) for the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Jay/Upper Jay, Wilmington, Keene/Keene Valley which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the second guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


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