The sycamore on the right, is in front of my house, and the other younger sycamore is right across the street. They seem to be in a constant embrace. The Sycamore is also known as American plane tree, western plane, occidental plane, and buttonball. Whenever we give friends directions to our house we just direct them to the biggest tree in the middle of the block.
I did not know very much about sycamores until we moved to this house in Greenfield. I love our sycamore which seems to bend slightly to the left, to embrace her sister. Sycamores are very tall, from between 75-100 feet tall. As you can imagine these trees are not often used as street trees, but our tree was planted in the 1920s when our street was being laid out. Maybe the original tree people didn’t consider the size of this tree when it was grown. I know there are no other trees this size being planted in town anymore.
As beautiful as the tree is, there is a problem in the fall. Remember I said one name for the sycamore is ‘buttonball”? We are all familiar with trees shedding their leaves. Buttonball trees shed seed balls, twigs and pieces of bark. The tiny hairs on the seed balls not only irritate the skin, they can cause respiratory problems. My husband and our neighbor never go to out to rake and sweep up all the debris without used a special mask, goggles and gloves
I don’t do any of the dirtiest work, but I can tell you we spend the fall and winter picking up ‘twigs’ and branches. If we had a fireplace we would never be lost for kindling.
I always think of these two sycamores as loving sisters in an embrace.