Although non-native, the Sycamore can be found all over Ireland and is widespread and common. It was introduced to Ireland during the 16th and 17th Centuries.
The Sycamore is a deciduous tree, whose leaves turn beautiful shades of yellow and brown in autumn before falling. It is often found in hedges and in public parks. Growing up to 35 m, the tree has a 5-lobed leaf, with toothed edges. A member of the Maple family, its fruit is borne in what young Irish children call ‘helicopters’.
It can be difficult to distinguish from the Field Maple, another non-native. However, the Sycamore’s ‘helicopter’ has its wings at angles to eachother, while the Field Maple’s form more of a straight line. Did you know that the correct name for these helicopters is samaras ?
The bark on young trees is quite smooth and grey, but turns scaly and begins to break up on older trees.
One amusing aspect about the Sycamore I do like is that, because it is not a native tree, there is no Irish folklore attached to this tree. Proof positive that it isn’t from these parts!
Sycamore Tar Spot
In recent years, Sycamores in Ireland seem to be subject more and more to the Tar Spot, a black fungus on the leaves (see photo). Apparently, this disease, caused by a pathogen, results in no ill-effect for the tree.