#AtoZChallenge: Sycamore tree (in celebration of Earth Day)

Sycamore for web
Sycamore tree in winter. Photo by Diane Weidenbenner.

Happy Earth Day 2017!

This winter, while walking beside Big Raccoon Creek near the Bridgeton Grist Mill in Bridgeton, Indiana, my friend and I noticed this beautiful, notty white-barked tree.

It’s leaves were long gone but hanging from the tree were one-inch woody balls attached by small branches. Upon research with Google, we discovered this beautiful tree was a Sycamore, and the balls were actually the fruit of the tree that ripened in October and broke up into many small seeds throughout season.

Sycamore pod for web
Sycamore “fruit”. Photo by Diane Weidenbenner.

There were still very large leaves gathered at the bottom of the tree, along with fallen fruit. Although Sycamore trees may look dead in winter (no leaves, bark peeling and falling off), the trees can actually live over 500 years, preferring deep river-bottom soils.

The trees are so prominent in Indiana, and the Wabash Valley, that you’ll notice everything from apartment buildings and streets to the Indiana State Sycamores (the NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletic team) sporting the name.

After discovering these beauties on my own, I did a little Google search for the tree in Indiana. For example, Sycamore trees are known for getting quite large and the biggest big tree in the DNR 2010 Register was a 136-foot tall Sycamore in Johnson County with a trunk more than 25-feet around.

There’s a page on the Internet that talks about “Indiana’s largest tree – the old Sycamore.” The decayed tree was located in Greene County until a storm destroyed it in 1925. The age of the tree in 1915 was estimated to be 500 years old and it reached a height of 150 feet. There is a sign erected in front of the last limb at Worthington Park, where the smaller branch of the tree remains, on public display.

The Visitindiana.com website lists Indiana as home to the “world’s largest Sycamore Stump”, located in Kokomo. It is 57 feet in circumference and 12 feet high. The tree was nearly 800 years old before storms tore it down. The stump has been displayed in Highland Park since 1916.

Who knew we had located such a stalwart tree, when we found the fallen fruit and “resting” trunk, next to the rushing waters of Big Raccoon Creek? Winter is such an important time for plants as they ready themselves for another green, moist promising spring in Indiana. I’d like to visit the tree again now, to see it in all its leafy glory.


  1. Reply

    I love the look of sycamores, maybe especially in winter when it’s all about the trunks.
    Thanks for visiting my blog this morning!
    The Ninja Librarian’s Favorite Characters

  2. Reply

    This was a very interesting post because here in the UK we also have a tree called a sycamore but it has different seeds – they are in pairs which resemble a wing-nut – they spin as they come down from the tree. Your sycamore we call the American Plane. I also did a post for the A-Z challenge connected to Earth day – http://pempispalace.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/s-is-for-solitary-sapien-solar-system.html

  3. Reply

    This was interesting since I am not familiar with sycamores at all. I have a reverence for huge old trees, and fell in love with the giant oaks we encountered on our trip to Louisiana this month. I’m delighted to see you are also doing the A-Z Challenge. I’ll be back for future posts!

    Read today’s A to Z post at Josie Two Shoes

  4. Reply

    A couple of times in my life I have see the sycamore fruit, but didn’t know what it was. I travel as often as I can, so I will keep my eyes peeled for a sycamore. This is a great post for another wonderful “S” word, Stewardship. Have a great weekend!

    1. Reply

      Thanks for visiting! My good friend Sandy is able to identify birds, trees, and sounds in nature. I’ve learned a lot from her. Enjoy what’s left of April!

  5. Reply

    I see those on the ground all the time when I walk my dog. I had no idea they were seed pods. Thanks!

    1. Reply

      Thank you for visiting! It’s amazing how many different seed pods there are – and types of leaves and trees! Enjoy the rest of the A to Z Challenge. Take care.

  6. Reply

    Interesting! I don’t know if we have sycamore trees around here. I live on the plains, so there aren’t many trees at all.

    1. Reply

      So, do you have cactus or shrubs? Do you have grass in your front or back yard? On my visits to Arizona, it reminds me of the necessity of water and how vital it is to grass, plants and such. Parts of Nevada are the same way. Have a good week! And, thanks for visiting.

  7. Reply

    Really beautiful trees. Thanks for sharing all the interesting facts about them 🙂 Happy A-to-Z-ing.

    1. Reply

      Thanks for visiting back! Just one more week to go…

  8. Reply

    Sycamore trees also thrive near water in the Southwest. They are beautiful trees and provide much needed shade in the hot climates of Arizona and New Mexico.

    1. Reply

      Thank you for visiting my blog! I had no idea that Sycamore trees were in Arizona and New Mexico! Enjoy what’s left of April and the challenge.

  9. Reply

    Sycamores are such beautiful trees…always love to see those.

  10. Reply

    I have never seen these trees in my country.Maybe I have never noticed them.
    Thanks for sharing

    A Peice Of My Life

  11. Reply


    I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a sycamore tree or not. This makes me think of the children’s song about Zacchaeus. Do you remember that song? It goes like this Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see…. If that doesn’t ring bell, then check YouTube. Thanks for visiting. Happy a2zing!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    Art Sketching Through the Alphabet “T” (Treehouse)

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