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American Sycamore

The sycamore is considered to be the largest hardwood tree in North America. The sycamore appears throughout West Virginia and the Laurel Lake area. Sycamores are often called Buttonwoods or Plane Trees. They grow to a height of 140 to 170 feet with a diameter of 10 to 11 feet.

The bark of the sycamore is very distinguishable from other trees. When young, the bark appears grayish green. Mature sycamores have large curling scales that the tree sheds, leaving a white surface.

The leaves of the sycamore are alternate and simple, have 3 to 5 lobes, 4 to 7 inches long with a hollow base, and light green in color. Single saucer-like, leafy, toothed stipules clasp and encircle twigs at points of leaf attachments.

The 1 inch diameter fruit appears as a burry ball that hangs on the tree during winter months. The fruit breaks during spring and allows the seeds to be transported by the wind.

The wood is hard, moderately strong, but will rot in contact with the soil. The beautiful grain is represented in furniture, home construction, and butcher blocks.