Tree usually 12 - 19 m tall, but can reach 30 m Leaves: opposite, stalked, dark green above, greenish white beneath, five-lobed, 8 - 16 cm wide, coarsely toothed, sometimes hairy-veined. Flowers: greenish yellow, borne in clusters. Fruit: winged (samara), paired, 3 - 5 cm long, with a 60 degree angle between wings. Bark: reddish brown to gray, flaking in rectangular scales to reveal orangish brown inner bark. Twigs: grayish brown, nearly four-sided. Buds: green and large with slightly pointed tips.
Similar species: Acer pseudoplatanus is sometimes confused with Acer platanoides, but Acer platanoides has buds that change to reddish brown in winter, samara wings spreading about 180 degrees, and has dark gray fissured bark.
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Europe, this species rarely escapes cultivation. The one vouchered specimen was found growing across the street from a cemetery containing the parent tree.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Notes: Acer pseudoplatanus is uncommonly grown as a landscape plant in the Chicago Region as it lacks the ornamental qualities of other maples. It is more commonly used in coastal areas requiring salt tolerance.
Etymology: Acer is derived from a Latin word meaning sharp, which refers to the hardness of the wood. Pseudoplatanus means "false Platanus,"which is the Greek name for plane tree.
Tall tree with rough-looking, coarsely crenate and 5- lobed lvs, the lobes and teeth never sharply acuminate; fls yellowish-green, numerous in slender drooping panicles 6-15 cm; sep and pet subequal, 4-5 mm; disk extrastaminal; style deeply cleft; mericarps 3-4 cm, somewhat distended over the seed but not reticulate, the wings diverging at an angle of 60-90л 2n=52. Native of Europe and w. Asia, occasionally escaped from cult. May.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.