American Sycamore Branches Against a Winter Sky

Jane Neill-Hancock

Wayne, United States

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This is a photograph of a massive tree just behind the railroad tracks in Mountain View section of Wayne NJ. it sticks out like a sore thumb because there are all dark bark trees around it – then this skeleton like white tree is reaching to the sky. the bottom of the tree is still a reddish brown, then the trunk branches out into two large trunks – both of which are the whitish grey color with tons of branches. I need to go back and take a photo of the whole tree. since it is so large I will need to take it from way across the street. Taken on Sunday 26-Jan-2014.

growing up in Roseland NJ we had one of these trees in our front yard, and at the time I hated it because I was always tasked to go outside and rake up the pieces of bark. Now of course I would LOVE it because it is an awesome colored tree and so unusual. My sister drove by our old house recently and unfortunately the tree is gone so they must have had to remove it for some reason.

This tree is an American Sycamore tree or a Platanus occidentalis, also known as American planetree, occidental plane, and buttonwood, is one of the species of Platanus native to North America. It is usually called sycamore in North America, a name which can refer to other types of tree in other parts of the world.

An American sycamore tree can often be easily distinguished from other trees by its mottled exfoliating bark which flakes off in great irregular masses, leaving the surface mottled, and greenish-white, gray and brown. The bark of all trees has to yield to a growing trunk by stretching, splitting, or infilling; the sycamore shows the process more openly than many other trees. The explanation is found in the rigid texture of the bark tissue which lacks the elasticity of the bark of some other trees, so it is incapable of stretching to accommodate the growth of the wood underneath, so the tree sloughs it off.

I dediate this to my MOM, who always knew the name of every tree and definitely would have known what this was. Instead I had to do an intensive search on the internet til I found it. Also dedicated to my family since we had one in our front yard at 5 Plymouth Place when we lived there for 4 years.

Artwork Comments

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