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sycamore silhouette

Above: an impressive silhouette
Below: the sycamore is
on the left.

Trees in front of the Tower

Trees of London
The Tower of London


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              The sycamore is referred to in North America as the sycamore maple, and the sycamore means, what in Britain is known as, the American plane. The confusions is understandable because the trees are similar.

              The scientific name for the sycamore is Acer Pseudoplatanus and this is because of its visual similarity to the plane tree. Pseudo, as in someone who is pretentious, means that it is like platanus which is the name for plane trees, and Acer is the scientific name which covers the whole maple family.
              So, what are the similarities? The leaves are more or less of the same shape and the bark is flaky. The London plane and the sycamore have like profiles, and are used to ornament towns.

              The biggest difference comes in the nuts. The sycamore has what is called double samaras (see identification section), while the plane has round spiky nuts.

            The sycamore comes from the maple family and like most maples, it is possible to extract a syrup from its bark. Don't expect it to be too tasty though: what we call maple syrup comes from the sugar maple, a Canadian tree.

            The twigs of the sycamore are windy and curled. This makes it stand out in the winter, though in truth it takes some practice before you master this way of recognizing it, but it is certainly worth looking out for because the silhouette of the sycamore is very beautiful.

Bare of leaves in the winter. sycamore silhouette

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Other Trees at Tower Hill

black poplar      London plane     acacia

Norway maple     rowan      bird cherry

ginkgo     honey locust

Tower of London

Tree Identification

Acer Pseudoplatanus

sycamore leaf

The leaf of the sycamore is maple shaped, like the leaf on the Canadian flag. They grow from the same point of the shoot, but opposite.

sycamore double samaras

nuts: the double samaras of the sycamore, top, are at a more acute angle than those of the Norway maple below.

sycamore flowers

They grow in panicle arrangement, drooping. This is as grapes grow

sycamore bark bark:
flaky on mature trees
grows to about 35metres
Usually has a rounded crown, but can grow from several springing shoots.
general: the sycamore germinates easily and often where a mature one is found can be seen many shoots, not distinguishable from plants; the leaves are the give away

click below for more information about sycamore trees.

On Tower Hill Road, the
same side as the Tower,
there is a little park. The sycamore is left of the east
gate on Tower Hill. It is marked with a white dot on the picture.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©