A tree originating in central Europe, introduced circa 1250, today this is one of the commonest naturalised trees found in the British Isles.
Since being introduced it has thrived invading woodland regenerating in hostile environments, at altitude and coastal regions.
A deciduous tree reaching heights of 30m plus, living between 250-350 years. Leaves are opposite, five lobed- attracting aphids in great numbers which in turn are predated by a host of insects -hoverflies, ladybirds, and birds.
Like all trees sycamores are affected by pest and diseases, here are a few to look out for:-
Tar Spot Fungus (Rhytisma acerinum) black spots on the upper leaf surface causing only superficial damage.
Sooty bark Disease (Cryptostrona corticale) identifiable by wilt, die-back, bark shedding and the reduction of a layer of brownish/black dry spores in the bark invading the cambium and phloem of affected trees.
Gall mite (Aceria cephaloneus) causes red pustules on the leaf surface 1-3mm high each containing several mites with a single leaf hosting over a hundred galls.
Sycamore Leaf and flower
SYCAMORE - Acer pseudoplatanus © Willow, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic
Tar Spot Fungus (Rhytisma acerinum)
Gall mite (Aceria cephaloneus)
Sycamores are monoecious being that both male and female flowers occur on the same tree.
The flowers, which provide a good food source for bees and other invertebrates, hang in racemes and after pollination the female flowers develop into the familiar winged seeds known as samara.
Embryonic seeds are often eaten by squirrels in such numbers that areas under the trees canopy are covered in empty seed cases, and where germination does occur green seedlings are often eaten by wood mice.
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