One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1North American An American plane tree.
Genus Platanus, family Platanaceae: several species, in particular P. occidentalis (also called buttonwood or buttonball tree), which is the largest deciduous tree in the US
- ‘Somewhat smaller than the American sycamore, bloodgood has slightly smaller leaves and a more greenish tinge overall.’
- ‘At a bend in the dusty road, beneath the shelter of a thick, curved sycamore, Altair rested, gazing up at the clouds above him.’
- ‘One hundred and thirty species of plants are represented, many typical of a warm-temperate to subtropical environment, such as avocado, magnolia, and sycamore.’
- ‘Floodplain forest is thick with green ash, American elm, sycamore, cottonwood, and silver maple, with box elder near the water's edge.’
- ‘Two faces of Texas: along the Devils River, wetland meets desert, and eastern sycamore thrives in sight of Christmas cactus’
- ‘Buildings recent and original, of stone and wood, run along the edge of the creek amidst stone walls and paths, sycamore and oak.’
2A large Eurasian maple with winged fruits, native to central and southern Europe.
Acer pseudoplatanus, family Aceraceae
- ‘Indigenous oak, elm, birch and ash forests are no longer under threat from development but from the intrusion of species such as sycamore and beech, which migrated to the country in the middle ages.’
- ‘The main crops my bees feed themselves on are sycamore, but there is quite a profusion of different flowers in the area, along with clover and heather.’
- ‘I write to thank you for the recent article in your paper regarding my battle to save my 100-year-old sycamore.’
- ‘Most of the track is elegantly lined with cherry, silver birch and sycamore, in avenue style.’
- ‘Spruce, larch and sycamore have already been felled from the site to favour oaks, yews and birches to leave the best spruce to grow on.’
Middle English: from Old French sic(h)amor, via Latin from Greek sukomoros, from sukon ‘fig’ + moron ‘mulberry’.
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