Alternating, palmately lobed leaves. Mottled bark that sheds off in oblong scales, leaving patches of white, smooth bark.
Sycamores are tolerant of wet soils. They grow in flood plains, along rivers and streams, and in lowlands (Peattie 1964). Hairs on the seeds act as parachutes, and the wind distributes them. However, many seeds may be carried by water and deposited on mud flats (a suitable place for growth). The wood of the sycamore is very hard and difficult to split. It has been used for crates, barrels, and boxes. Hollow trunks of old giant trees are homes for chimney swifts (Burns and Honkala 1990).