Monday, November 07, 2005


Judith has a good post about visiting an arboretum over the weekend and it got me thinking about trees. I love trees and am lucky to have so many mature specimens in my yard. We have several silver maples, two that are probably over 100 years old. We have a lovely tulip tree at the rear of the house too that looks magnificent right now, as it has turned a lovely gold. The afternoon light is especially flattering to it. My favorite tree of all time, however, is the Sycamore.

I love them.

I planted one when we first moved in and it has grown to be a little taller than me, but they don't really reach their glory until they are older, achieving that spectacular mottled bark and crooked, gangly shape. We have many of them here in southcentral PA. They like moist feet so they are commonly found along streams and in wet places. It is said that indians used Sycamores to denote the locations of springs, and would plant two on either side of the spring head. Whenever I am driving and see two Sycamores standing side by side, I always wonder if I would find a spring between them. Andrew Wyeth also liked Sycamores, although he called them 'Buttonwoods'. I have a print of his called 'Pennsylvania Landscape' that features a fabulous old Sycamore. I was never a tree climbing child. Little trees, maybe, but big trees never, because I always had issues with coming back down. I can't help but imagine how satisfying it would be to sit in the top of one of these amazing trees, watching the world go by and imagining all of the things an old Sycamore has seen in it's life. On the Brandywine Battlefield in Chadds Ford, PA is an enormous Sycamore called the Lafayette Sycamore. When Lafayette was wounded in the Revolutionary War, he was carried and placed beneath the sycamore by a local tavern keeper. The tree is estimated to be 391 years old. Wow. I wish I had a sycamore in my yard that size. This is a picture of that tree that I pulled off the web, with kids in it for scale.


Blogger Liz said...

I love sycamores, too, and the saddest part is that they don't grow this far north. They are such majestic trees.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Judith said...

You have a majestic collection of trees! Great photos & information. What a beautiful sycamore you have! The bark is exquisite. I have found sycamore seedlings in the woods here, but no larger trees. I can't get over the size of the Lafayette Sycamore! Great post, Meredith! PS I want to climb every one of your trees...

8:35 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

Those aren't my trees. I take pictures of sycamores whenever I come across them in my job. I wish I had those trees in my yard. My little sycamore that I planted is only about 7 feet tall, so someday, maybe.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Sonia said...

Trees are my big passion! Love these photos!

11:40 AM  

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