Sycamore tree and Sycamore wood

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Acer-Pseudoplatanus-2When we are talking here about the Sycamore we are talking about Acer pseudoplantanus, the “European” Sycamore and not the American one, which is Platanus occidentalis.

Sycamore (Acer pseudoplantanus) (in the USA called Sycamore maple) is a very underrated and undervalued tree and wood in Britain where it is continuously referred to as a non-native species and some call for its eradication.

While it is true that in the UK, Sycamore frequently suffers from sooty bark disease (further citation) to all intents and purposes, however, is – fingers tightly crossed it remains that way – otherwise very resilient. Sooty bark is, however, fatal for the tree once it has been affected. Having said that, however, it would appear that Britain has just managed, probably, to import a plant disease, Xylella fastidiosa, from the European Union that, unfortunately, does attack Sycamore, along with Oak and Bird Cherry.

In my opinion Sycamore if one of the best woods for treen, and that not only because of its high antibacterial and antiviral properties, though it may be rather plain and lack interesting grain feature rater, in comparison to other hardwoods.

On the European mainland, especially in Germany, where it is called “Mountain Maple”, Sycamore is regarded as a noble timer tree and highly valued.

With Ash Dieback (ADB) making itself rather felt in woodlands across Britain UK forestry bodies are looking abroad for foreign replacement completely disregarding the Sycamore and, still more often than not, rejecting any suggestion of looking at that tree, which does so well, bar for sooty bark, in the UK where it tends to grow like a weed, with the comment that it is not a native tree. But Southern Beech, and other suggested replacements, also from the USA, obviously are. I rest my case here, as it is getting rather heavy (the case that is).

Personally, but then this is me, and I love Sycamore, I cannot see why the Forestry Commission and the Royal Forestry Society, and others, are looking at American maples, for instance, as a possible replacement for Ash, when we already have a, more or less, perfect specimen of the maple family in our midst that also likes living and multiplying here. Anyone who has seen how that tree multiplies will know what I mean.

German forestry sources refer, as said earlier, to Acer pseudoplantanus as a noble timer tree, or even as Edelholz, meaning precious wood, and there, apparently, it tends to only grow in mountainous regions and not so well in the lower areas. Maybe they need some British Sycamore seed... just jesting. So why the permanent rejection of Sycamore in Britain as a “non-native” tree, especially considering that it once, before the last ice age, apparently, was native here but did not return on its own steam.

© 2018