This giant tree near the side entrance of Cole Hall facing the Power House is the largest sycamore in the arboretum, with a diameter of 103 cm (41 in.), height of 27 m (89 ft.), and crown spread of 29 m (95 ft.).
Sycamore is a tree that is easy to recognize. Although its leaves
are similar to maple leaves, they are arranged alternately on the twig
, rather than opposite as are maples. The bark
of sycamore is one of the most distinctive features of the species. As the trees age, bark begins to peel off in irregularly shaped chunks. This gives the tree a "camouflage" look with the different-aged exposed layers having different shades of green and brown. On young trees and branches, the predominance of whitish bark makes the species stand out
, especially in the winter time when leaves are absent.
of sycamore is also unique. The fruit is a hanging ball. As it matures and dries, hairs attached to the seeds behave as a parachute when the seeds come loose from the ball.
Sycamore is a very common native tree that is usually found along streams and rivers. On Vanderbilt campus, it is easy to confuse the few sycamore trees with the numerous, non-native London plane trees that have been planted and which look quite similar to sycamore. The London plane trees tend to have greener upper bark, while the upper bark of sycamore tends to be white.
This tree is described on p. 60 of The Trees of Vanderbilt