On a hot summer day in September, I went on a tree tour led by Dickinson College Arborist, Mark Scott. He took my classmates and I around the academic quads that afternoon to befriend a tree for our tree journal blog. Mark Scott gave us specific details on the history and facts of each tree we encountered and they were each followed by guessing a number between one through ten to win that tree, because more than one student wanted the same tree. Finding my tree was a difficult task. I was looking for a tree that grabbed my attention and represented something beyond a simple tree.
Sycamo showing off his exfoliating bark.
I was introduced to a Platanus Occidentalis (American Sycamore) with an astounding presence. Its enormous trunks command attention with a mottled exfoliating bark and a height that my phone camera couldn’t capture up close. I named him Sycamo and he was regarded as one of the tallest trees at Dickinson by Mark Scott. The wood from American Sycamore’s can be used for butcher blocks , which testifies the durability and tough persona Sycamo has. Sycamo’s leaves can grow up to 9 inches wide! And he is about four or five feet in diameter and 70 feet tall, which is not that big considering Sycamores can grow to massive proportions, reaching up to 98 to 131 feet high and about 4.9 to 6.6 ft in diameter. Sycamo has plenty of time to grow into an even larger tree and I can’t even imagine how much bigger he’d be.
Students are in constant movement with their daily routines, as for Sycamo, he goes unnoticed. And that is the beauty of Sycamo. With such an astounding presence yet fading into the created environment around him.