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D: American Sycamore

Platanus occidentalis

One of the largest and most common trees in eastern deciduous forests, the Sycamore is native across the eastern United States and thrives in wet areas along bodies of water. It has a distinctive bark which peels back as the tree grows, creating a unique pattern: gray, rough bark near its base and white, smooth bark at the top. Its fruit forms into a small ball with many seeds, which have fuzzy, hair-like structures allowing for dispersal through wind and water. Bird and mammal species including squirrels, finches, and chickadees often nest in hollows of sycamore trees.

In the winter, Sycamore is one of our most recognizable trees - it’s the only one in this area with distinctive white bark. When you see a cluster or line of white-barked trees, know that they are Sycamores and that they’ve gathered in a wet area!

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