Platanus occidentalis, also known as American sycamore, western plane, occidental plane, buttonwood, and water beech, is a species of Platanus. Genus name comes from the Greek word, platanos, for the oriental plane. Specific epithet means Western.
Platanus occidentalis, commonly called sycamore, American sycamore, eastern sycamore, buttonwood or buttonball tree, is generally regarded to be the most massive tree indigenous to eastern North America. It is a deciduous, usually single-trunk tree that typically grows to 75-100’ (less frequently to 150’) tall with horizontal branching and a rounded habit. Trunk diameter typically ranges from 3-8’, with some records up to 16’. Although tulip tree (see Liriodendron tulipifera) may reach similar heights, its trunk diameters are generally smaller. Sycamore is native to lowland areas, typically reaching its largest size along streams, rivers and flood plains. It is commonly found throughout the State of Missouri. The signature ornamental feature of this huge tree is its brown bark which exfoliates in irregular pieces to reveal creamy white inner bark. Mature trees typically display mottled white bark that facilitates identification from great distances.