Acer pseudoplatanus

1 Oct

Acer pseudoplatanus (07/09/2014, Walworth, London)

Acer pseudoplatanus (07/09/2014, Walworth, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Early spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 30m

Eventual Spread: 20m

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b

Family: Sapindaceae

Acer pseudoplatanus is a deciduous tree with a spreading habit and domed crown. Its dark green leaves are palmate with 5 lobes, up to 14cm long and 20cm broad. Its leaf stalks are usually tinged with red. Its bark is grey/ brown and when mature forms platelets on the trunk. Its yellow/ green flowers are produced in clusters of up to 50 on pendulous racemes. Its fruit are paired winged samara with the seed being up to 1cm across, the wing helping the distant dispersal of the seed.

Acer pseudoplatanus Leaf (07/09/2014, Walworth, London)

Acer pseudoplatanus Leaf (07/09/2014, Walworth, London)

The species Acer pseudoplatanus, commonly known as the Sycamore or Sycamore Maple, is native to central Europe and south west Asia. This tree has naturalised in the UK and has been here since the 15th century possibly longer. It is considered an invasive species in Australia, New Zealand and Norway. In the UK it has the ability to displace native trees from woodlands, although give time (at least a century) native trees will displace the Sycamore.

The etymological root of the binomial name Acer is derived from the Latin meaning ‘sharp’ in reference to the classical roman use of the genus to make spears. Pseudoplatanus is derived from the Greek meaning ‘false Platanus‘.

The landscape architect may find Acer pseudoplatanus useful as a robust urban street tree. It may be planted as a nursery shelterbelt tree in very exposed areas. This tree is tolerant of urban pollution and maritime exposure. Care should be taken when specifying this tree as it will readily self seed.

Acer pseudoplatanus Seed (07/09/2014, Walworth, London)

Acer pseudoplatanus Seed (07/09/2014, Walworth, London)

Ecologically, Acer pseudoplatanus flowers are attractive to pollinating insects. Its leaves are attractive to a number of moth and butterfly species.

Acer pseudoplatanus prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will tolerate poor soils.

Acer pseudoplatanus requires little maintenance. Pruning should be carried out in late autumn.

Davis Landscape Architecture


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