Acer pseudoplatanus (Sycamore)
Species: A. pseudoplatanus
Binomial name: Acer pseudoplatanus
Common name: Sycamore, Sycamore maple, Mock plane
Acer pseudoplatanus is a tall, fast-growing, long-lived deciduous tree, tolerant of wind and coastal exposure. It is native to Central Europe and south-western Asia, from France eastwards to Ukraine, northern Turkey and the Caucasus and southwards in the mountains of northern Spain and Italy.
Acer pseudoplatanus was introduced to New Zealand and is now classed as an invasive tree because of its prolific production of seeds that invade areas over large distances. Acer pseudoplatanus is very hardy, tolerant to extreme conditions, long-lived and will form dense stands of trees that create heavy shade, replacing native vegetation, making regeneration of native plants impossible. It invades damp and wet forest areas, streams sides and gardens. Each tree produces up to 10,000 seeds per year and these are spread by wind, water, mulch and the movement of soil.
Acer pseudoplatanus can grow to a height of 12 to 35 m and the branches form a broad, rounded crown. The bark is grey, smooth when young and later flaking in irregular patches.
The dark green maple-shaped leaves (8-14 x 10-20 cm) grow on long leafstalks and are large and palmate, with 3-5 radiating lobes. The leaves undersides are a pale grey-green, with light brown hairs on the veins. The leaves are oppositely arranged along the stems.
The flowers (Oct-Nov) are greenish-yellow and are 2-4mm long and hang on narrow drooping clusters called panicles (5-15 cm long). There are 20-50 flowers on each panicle.
The winged seeds or samaras (2-5cm long) are borne in pairs.
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