Flora of Northern Ireland
  • Acer pseudoplatanus L. - Sycamore - Aceraceae
Acer pseudoplatanus
© Alan Hill
Acer pseudoplatanus
© Fiona McCrory
Acer pseudoplatanus
© Paul Hackney
Acer pseudoplatanus
(Map updated: March 2008)
Acer pseudoplatanus
© David Mitchel
Acer pseudoplatanus
© Alan Hill
Acer pseudoplatanus
© Alan Hill
 

This is a very common and familiar tree in all parts of Northern Ireland, but it is not native to any part of the British Isles. Its spread and expansion in Northern Ireland appears to have occurred within the past two hundred years, but the date of its first introduction is unclear. (The oldest tree in Ireland is in Co. Cavan and dates from the seventeenth century.)

It is a hardy tree, resistant to exposure inland and on the coast, and has been extensively employed as a shelter belt around exposed houses: many old farmsteads still have such sycamore shelter plantings in their vicinity. Apart from planted trees, sycamore spreads readily by wind-blown seed carried in the characteristic "double samaras" or winged fruits.

The name sycamore properly refers to a fig-tree with which it was confused because of the similarity of its leaves in shape to the true fig-tree.

The wood has a light colour and is easy to carve and turn.

All names: Acer pseudoplatanus L.