Sycamore, sycamore maple (Eng), falso plátano, arce blanco (Spa), fals plàtan, blada (Cat), astigar zuria (Baq), pradairo (Glg), falso-plátano (Por).
DID YOU KNOW...? The famous Asturian Cabrales cheeses are hand wrapped using sycamore maple leaves.
A large tree that can be up to 30 m tall with smooth greyish or orangey bark, which detaches as small scales with age. The leaves are 6-23 cm wide, deciduous, simple , opposite and palmate with 5 lobes that have slightly rounded tips, differentiating it from A. platanoides L. The stalk is very long and often reddish in colour. The leaves do not secrete latex when cut. The flowers are greenish and inconspicuous. The fruits are samaras, or keys, i.e., they have a globose seed with a membranous wing allowing them to be dispersed by the wind. They develop in facing pairs at an angle of approximately 70-110° (sometimes up to 130º).
The sycamore maple grows in cool shady areas on any type of substrate, whenever there is sufficient moisture in the soil or environment, from sea level up to 2000 m. Towards the south it becomes more montane in character, and frequently appears associated with other deciduous tree species, such as beech, oak and birch.
It lives in central and southern Europe, and southwestern Asia. It is very abundant in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, but has been widely cultivated as a shade and ornamental species, and it has become established in the wild in many places.