PLANT PROFILE

 

NAME: American Sycamore

LATIN NAME / FAMILY:  Platanus occidentalis / Platanaceae

OTHER COMMON NAME(S):  Buttonwood, American Planetree

CONDITIONS: full sun
 

PARTS:

EDIBLEcid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

TASTE

RAW/COOK

SEASON

All

 

 

 

 

Shoots

 

 

 

 

Leaves

       

Stalk/Stem

 

 

 

 

Buds

       

Flowers

 

 

 

 

Fruits

 

 

 

 

Pods

 

 

   

Seeds

 

 

 

 

Nuts

 

 

 

 

Roots

 

 

 

 

Bark

 

 

 

 

Sap

sweet

RAW/COOK

late Winter

 

PORTION: small-medium

 

COMMENT: The sweet sap is tapped in the spring and used in the preparation of syrup and sugar.(1) Also used as “sweet water” which includes minerals. Sap availability depends on location, year round in warm areas.

 

CAUTION:  In hot dry climates the hairs of the fruits and leaves are believed to cause an effect similar to hay fever.(1)

 

NUTRITION/MEDICINAL:  Antirheumatic;  Astringent;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Laxative;  Poultice;  Salve.

 

LOOK-A-LIKES:  

 

POISONOUS LOOK-A-LIKES: 

 

OTHER USES: A fairly wind resistant tree, it can be grown as part of a shelterbelt planting.(1) While inedible, the fruit which consists of a cluster of many seeds, is still useful. Left intact, the fruit make a somewhat durable bobber for fishing, though if the water does penetrate the fruit it'll eventually sink. The fluff inside the fruit can be used as tinder to start a fire.(4) Its wood has been used extensively for butcher’s blocks. It has been used for boxes and crates; although coarse-grained and difficult to work, it has also been used to make furniture, siding, and musical instruments.(3)  To the forager, or the bushcrafter, another advantage of the sycamore is its light-colored wood can be used to make safe utensils such as wooden spoons, forks or skewers. Historically it was made into boxes to hold food as well as fruit and vegetable baskets.  Other early uses included barber poles, wooden washing machines, lard pails, Saratoga trunks, piano and organ cases, phonograph boxes, and broad paneling in Pullman train cars. It has been used for butcher blocks for many years because it is hard to split, as well as flooring, handles, and pallets.(2)

 

SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):

  1. https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Platanus+occidentalis
  2. http://www.eattheweeds.com/sycamores-not-just-another-plane-tree-2
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platanus_occidentalis
  4. http://www.foragingtexas.com/2010/04/sycamore-tree.html  (good photos)