Sycamore Maple
Acer pseudoplatanusAceraceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerFruitLeaf
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted


  • Planetree maple

The Plant:

  • A medium to large deciduous tree, ranging from 40 to 60 feet tall. Has a dense and compact crown, with spreading, upright branches.

The Leaves:

  • opposite
  • thick
  • leathery
  • coarsely serrated
  • 5-lobed
  • basal lobes much smaller
  • dark green above
  • greenish white below
  • impressed veins

The Stem:

  • scaly
  • gray
  • flaking bark showing orange

The Flowers:

  • Yellowish green with five petals. Blooms in May.

The Fruits:

  • samaras
  • green maturing to brown or tan
  • clustered

The Habitat:

  • adaptable
  • salt tolerant
  • tolerates calcareous soils (high pH)
  • full sun, light shade


  • wind

Key ID Features:

  • medium to large shade tree
  • deciduous
  • opposite
  • thick leathery
  • 5-lobed
  • impressed veins
  • bark scaly, gray
  • flaking

Similar Species:

  • Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) has thin, entire leaves, an erect umbellate growth habit, and bark that is regularly grooved.
  • Red Maple (Acer rubrum) has thin toothed, entire leaves, an umbellate growth habit, and smooth or ridged bark with no flaking.
  • Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) has thin, entire leaves, a hanging umbellate growth habit, and ridged bark in strips with no flaking.


  • The large buds of this tree remain green throughout the winter. Can be distinguished from Norway Maple by the lack of milky white sap when leaf petioles are broken.
  • In contrast to Norway Maple, this species seems to thrive in salty conditions.

Growth Form: Tree

Origin: Europe, Western Asia

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Invasive

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Invasive

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: importation ban July 2006, propagation ban January 2009

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston