Acer pseudoplatanus

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Authors: Karan Rawlins, Hillery Reeves and Kaylee Tillery at the Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health, University of Georgia


Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Sapindales
Family: Aceraceae
Genus: Acer
Species: A. pseudoplatanus
Scientific Name
Acer pseudoplatanus
Common Names

Sycamore maple, mock plane


Acer pseudoplatanus is a tall tree that can reach 100 ft. (30 m) or more in height. The bark of the tree has irregular coarse scales that often flake off revealing the orange inner bark. The palmately veined leaves have a leathery texture, unlike most maples, and are dark green above and lighter green and pubescent on the major veins below.
The palmate dark green or reddish green leaves have 5 lobes. The two basal lobes are reduced compared to the three middle lobes. The leaf margins are coarsely toothed, but do not have sharp tips. The leaves are 3-6 in. (7.5-15 cm) wide and are cordate at their base. Leaves turn yellow in the fall.
The yellow to green flowers appear in April and May at the same time as the leaves. Flowers are in pendulous racemes 2-6 in. (6-15 cm) long. The individual flowers are small, measuring 0.2 in. (4-5 mm) across.
The fruits are paired samaras that measure about 1-1.5 in. (3-4 cm) long. The wings of the fruit are at angles of 60-90 degrees. The seeds mature from late summer through early fall and are primarily wind-dispersed.
Ecological Threat
Acer pseudoplatanus is native to Europe and western Asia. It is capable of producing large numbers of seedlings, giving rise to dense tree stands with the potential for crowding out native tree species.


Acer pseudoplatanus has paired samaras that are wind dispersed and can produce large stands of seedlings. These can grow into dense stands that crowd or shade out native species.


Acer pseudoplatanus is native to Europe and western Asia. In the U.S. it is found from Maine to Michigan and south from Kentucky to North Carolina. In New England it is most numerous along the coast, particularly on Cape Cod, coastal Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut. So far, it is an uncommon escapee to the inland.


Mechanical Control
  1. Pulling, cutting small populations of plants, treat re-sprouts with herbicides.
Chemical Control
  1. Use herbicides for large populations or in conjunction with mechanical techniques
  1. No biocontrol information available.


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