Acer pseudoplatanus. SYCAMORE MAPLE. Europe

Look for specimens north of Frost Amphitheater toward Lasuen Street. The paired winged seeds, or samaras, as with those of other maples are fascinating objects and fun for children to drop from the top of the steps. This tree has been known for centuries in English literature as the sycamore, so the dictionary makers will never be persuaded to change the common name, even though the tree is certainly a maple. As with colonists everywhere, the English in America applied familiar names to unfamiliar plants and animals, thus the sycamores through which the candlelight was gleaming were not maples, but plane trees. This is the typical dilemma with common names: they can be ambiguous, or even tribiguous. And there is nobody with authority to regulate the free market of words.

Illustration: McMinn, Howard E. and Evelyn Maino. 1951. An illustrated manual of Pacific coast trees; with lists of trees recommended for various uses on the Pacific coast by H. W. Shepherd. 2d ed. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

Other campus maples: Acer buergeranum | Acer campestre | Acer circinatum | Acer ginnala | Acer griseum | Acer macrophyllum | Acer negundo | Acer notes | Acer palmatum | Acer platanoides | Acer pseudoplatanus | Acer rubrum | Acer saccharinum

Illustrations (links open new windows): gallery


Name derivation, genus | species The Latin name | false Platanus

Related material:

Botanical name index | Common name index | Family home