Taxonomy

Acer pseudoplatanus | Sycamore | Seiceamóir

Distribution

Status

Conservation status

Not Assessed

Native status

Non-native

First reported in the wild

1610

Invasiveness

Invasive species - risk of Medium Impact

Irish status

Established

Introduction pathways - 1

Release in Nature

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Landscape/flora/fauna improvement

Introduction pathways - 2

Escape from Confinement

Introduction pathways subclass - 2

Ornamental purpose

Invasive score

15

NAPRA Ireland risk assessed

No

Species Biology

Identification

Tree, up to 35m tall, simple leaves with 5 acute coarsely serrate lobes wider at the base, distinctive fruit with wings diverging at 90° (Stace, 1997).


Flowers: May; catkins and flowers

Fruits: Acorns borne on stalks <2cm long

Twigs & bark:  Twigs grey; bark grey and fissured when mature

Ecology

Originally thought to be damaging to native woodlands and to support a much narrower range of diversity than native species it has been shown to support a wide range of lichens and other species (Leslie, 2005). The principal concern would be sycamore dominated woodlands, though sycamore seedlings are out competed by ash under sycamore canopy and vice versa (Walters & Savill, 1991), would suggest that there is a pattern of succession in mixed woodlands. Undisturbed woodlands have relatively few sycamore compared to disturbed sites, even when sycamore are present at nearby sites (Morecroft et al., 2008) and sycamores poor growth in dry conditions (Morecroft et al., 2008), would suggest careful management of forests can mitigate any effects of sycamore invasion.

Habitat

Woodland, forest and other wooded land, Constructed, industrial or other artificial habitats

Pathway and vector description

Thought to have been planted in Derry around 1610 (Reynolds, 2002), widely planted in parks and gardens by the end of the 19th century it was only found once in the wild despite seeding freely (Reynolds, 2002). Has since expanded widely throughout Ireland.

Mechanism of impact

Competition

Broad environment

Terrestrial

Habitat description

Found in woodlands, planted for forestry and widely planted as an ornamental in parks and roadsides (Reynolds, 2002), prefers acidic soils.

Species group

Plant

Native region

Europe

Distribution

World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Established - Widespread & Common. One of the most common tree species in Ireland, naturalised in the wild and widely planted in semi-natural and urban habitats (Reynolds, 2002).

Native distribution

Native to central and southern Europe.

Temporal change

Date of first record category

Pre-1900

Fifty year date category

1601-1650

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.

How can you help

Report any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

References

Publications

Cronk Q.C.B. & Fuller, J.L. (1995). Plant invaders: the threat to natural ecosystems. London, UK; Chapman & Hall Ltd.

Leslie, A.D. (2005) The ecology and biodiversity value of Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) with particular reference to Great Britain. Scottish Forestry. Vol 59 No 3. p19 -26.

Morecroft, M. D., Stokes, V. J., Taylor, M. E., & Morison, J. I. (2008). Effects of climate and management history on the distribution and growth of sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) in a southern British woodland in comparison to native competitors. Forestry, 81(1), 59-74.

Reynolds, S.C.P. (2002) A catalogue of alien plants in Ireland. National Botanic Gardens. Glasnevin, Dublin.

Stace, C. (1997). New Flora of the British Isles 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Waters, T. L., & Savill, P. S. (1992). Ash and sycamore regeneration and the phenomenon of their alternation. Forestry, 65(4), 417-433.

CABI Datasheet

Images