|a mature sycamore tree in Denver, Colorado|
This plant profile is a bit different because it features a plant that I do not recommend. However, it's a plant that I think is visually intriguing and worthy of closer examination if you happen across one.
Platanus occidentalis, American sycamore, is native to eastern North America. It's found in deep, moist soils - not a characteristic of Colorado's front Range - and is very large, 75 to 100 feet tall with a similar spread - so not great for most residential landscapes, either. This specimen is located in an irrigated park (32nd Ave and Federal Blvd, Denver) with plenty of room to grow. The texture is irregular and coarse with rangy branching and large leaves.
These trees definitely fall into the "messy" category. There's a mature sycamore in a yard right around the corner from me; I walk by that property all the time and I've noticed the constant litter of twigs (and branches after snow storms).
The beauty of a sycamore is in the amazing bark, which shifts from chunky, grey tessellations on the trunk to large, multicolor, flaky sheets on the lower branches, to smooth creamy-white bark on the upper-branches.
|love the lichen on the north side of this old tree!|
|hues of warm browns, greys, and cream|
And did I mention the cool fruit? Another sculptural component of Platanus.
Keep your eyes open for sycamore trees and enjoy them when you see them - just don't plant one!