Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore)


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Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore) Seeds

Zone: 4 to 9.

Native to eastern United States, southern Ontario.

The American Sycamore is one of the largest deciduous trees in the eastern United States, growing 75 to 100 feet or more in height with a wide canopy comprised of heavy, spreading branches. Its large size makes it better suited for parks or campuses. It likes s sunny site with deep, rich soil that is moist but well-drained. The foliage consists of large, medium to dark-green, maple-shaped leaves. In autumn it bears round brown fruit attached to a 3 to 6 inch (7 to 15 cm) stalk and comprising of multiple seeds that are achenes. These tiny winged seeds mature in November and disseminate in in late winter. A distinctive feature of the American Sycamore tree is its brown bark which exfoliates in irregular pieces to reveal creamy white inner bark.

Size: Height 75 to 100 ft; Width 75 to 100 ft.

Germination Instructions

Stratification: Seeds require about 90 days cold stratification at 3° C (37° F) to 5° C (41° F).

  1. First place seeds in a container with warm water and leave them in the water for about 24 hours.
  2. Next mix some soiless mixture for starting seeds or sand and vermiculite moisten with water and place it in sandwich bag(s). Note: mixture should be moist not soggy. The bag(s) should not be sealed. Poke holes or leave partially open for air.
  3. Place the seeds inside the mix and refrigerate for about 90 days.
  4. Occasionally check to see if seeds are starting to sprout.
  5. After the required time place the seeds in a sheltered spot in the ground or in pots where they can grow. The young saplings can be transplanted to the desired permanent location in the ground after a couple of years when they have grown a few feet.