A08: Purple Sycamore: Acer pseudoplatanus purpureum
The sycamore is not native to Britain but comes from central, eastern and southern Europe. It was probably introduced sometime in the Middle ages but Roman introduction has been suggested. Scottish Gaelic names suggest a 6-8th century presence, but the first records in the wild are from 1632. Its prolific seed production and germination has resulted in it being classified as an invasive species, particularly in Norway, the USA, and New Zealand.
It is thoroughly naturalised in Britain, growing on most soil types, and can grow to 35 m and live for 400 years. The flowers can be functionally male or female, and the sexes commonly open at different times thus encouraging cross fertilisation. The tree can be coppiced. Squirrels are fond of the bark and can strip stems and kill them and the Sycamore aphid, Drepanosiphum platanoidis produces large quantities of sticky honeydew
Purpureum was first described from Jersey in 1828.