Herbs & Plants

Acer pseudoplatanus

Botanical Name: Acer pseudoplatanus
Family: Sapindaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Acer
Section: Acer sect. Acer
Series: Acer ser. Acer
Species:A. pseudoplatanus

Common Names: Sycamore, Great Maple, Scottish Maple, Planetree Maple

Habitat: Acer pseudoplatanus is native to central and eastern Europe and western Asia. Its natural range includes Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, southern Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the former Yugoslavia.It grows in woodland, hedgerows etc.

Acer pseudoplatanus is a large, broadleaved deciduous tree that reaches 20–35 m (66–115 ft) tall at maturity, the branches forming a broad, domed crown. The bark of young trees is smooth and grey but becomes rougher with age and breaks up into scales, exposing the pale-brown-to-pinkish inner bark.

The buds are produced in opposite pairs, ovoid (approximately oval in shape) and pointed, with the bud scales (the modified leaves that enclose and protect the bud) green, edged in dark brown and with dark brown tips, 0.5–1 cm (0.2-0.4 in). When the leaves are shed they leave horseshoe shaped marks called leaf scars on the stem. The leaves are opposite, large, 10 to 25 cm (4 to 10 in) long and broad, palmate with 5 pointed lobes that are coarsely toothed or serrated. They have a leathery texture with thick veins protruding on the underside. They are dark green in colour with a paler underside. Some cultivars have purple-tinged or yellowish leaves. The leaf stalk or petiole is 5 to 15 cm (2 to 6 in) long, is often tinged red with no stipules or leaf-like structures at the base.

The monoecious (or bisexual) yellow-green flowers are produced after the leaves in early summer. It is in flower from April to June, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Bees. The fruits are paired winged seeds or samaras, the seeds 5 to 10 mm (0.2 to 0.4 in) in diameter, each with a wing 20 to 40 mm (0.8 to 1.6 in) long developed as an extension of the ovary wall. The wings are held at about right angles to each other, distinguishing them from those of A. platanoides and A. campestre, in which the wings are almost opposite, and from those of A. saccharum, in which they are almost parallel. When shed, the wing of the samara catches the wind and rotates the fruit as it falls, slowing its descent and enabling the wind to disperse it further from the parent tree. The seeds are mature in autumn about four months after pollination.


Landscape Uses:Firewood, Seashore, Specimen, Street tree. Of easy cultivation, it prefers a good moist well-drained soil and a sunny position, but tolerates most conditions including poor soils and some shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Chlorosis can sometimes develop as a result of iron deficiency when the plants are grown in alkaline soils, but in general maples are not fussy as to soil pH. Dislikes wet soils. Grows better in the cooler areas of the country. Very wind-resistant, tolerating maritime exposure though it is often wind and salt pruned in very exposed areas. A fairly aggressive tree, it self-sows freely and inhibits the growth of nearby plants. It is often one of the first trees to colonize open land. It is fast growing and establishes rapidly. It can supplant native trees, at least in the short-term, though recent evidence suggests that in the long term it does not usually become the dominant tree in British woodlands and it is often recommended for planting in broad-leaved woods by the Forestry Commission, especially in windy areas. Plants are subject to sooty bark disease – this is not fatal and occurs most often in years that follow hot summers. There are many named forms that have been selected for their ornamental value. Trees take 25 years to come into bearing from seed. Special Features:Not North American native, Naturalizing, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms. In garden design, as well as the above-ground architecture of a plant, root structure considerations help in choosing plants that work together for their optimal soil requirements including nutrients and water. The root pattern is branching: a heart root, dividing from the crown into several primary roots going down and out.

Edible Uses:
The sap contains sugar and can be used as a drink or be concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods. It can be harvested in late winter but is not produced in economic quantities. About 25 grams of sugar is obtained from a litre of the sap. The sap can also be used to make a wine. The flow is best on warm sunny days following a frost. The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates. The keys of the developing seeds have a sweet exudation on them and this is often sucked by children. The leaves can be wrapped round food such as buns when baking them and they impart a sweet flavour.The sap rises vigorously in the spring and like that of sugar maple can be tapped to provide a refreshing drink, as a source of sugar and to make syrup or beer.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark has mild astringent properties and has been used to make a wash for skin problems and an eyewash for sore eyes. The inner bark of the tree, containing the sweet sap, can be used as a dressing for wounds.

Other Uses:
The trees are fast-growing and make a good windbreak for exposed and maritime areas.The tree is planted in parks for ornamental purposes, and sometimes as a street tree, since its tolerance of air pollution makes it suitable for use in urban plantings. Because of its tolerance to wind, it has often been planted in coastal and exposed areas as a windbreak. They are often used in shelterbelt plantings. This species usually self-sows freely and is often the first tree to invade disused farmland, cleared woodland etc. Its ability to tolerate difficult environments make it a good pioneer species for re-establishing woodlands. When grown in Britain it is usually gradually displaced over a period of 200 years or more by native species until it becomes just a minor component of the woodland. The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them. Wood – very hard, heavy, elastic, easy to work, fairly resistant to insects. Used for carving, small domestic items, veneer etc. It is a good fuel and also makes a good charcoal that can be used as a fuel.

Both male and female flowers produce abundant nectar, which makes a fragrant, delicately flavoured and pale-coloured honey. The nectar and copious dull yellow ochre pollen are collected by honeybees as food sources.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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