I grew up in northern Indiana, where the winter woods are dark - full of oaks and maples and locusts. Down here in southern Indiana, our winter woods are haunted by the ghostly forms of sycamores, whose white trunks show up through the darker trees. It's surprising how they change the character of the woods from a distance.
Sycamores are big trees. Big, brittle trees. Don't put one near a structure.
They have long elegant branches, beautiful huge leaves that look a lot like a maple leaf on steroids, and really interesting, round seed heads.
They love creeks and damp meadows and since this area is full of creeks and damp meadows, we have a lot of them.
The soil is exactly right for cultivating them, so they often grow in small clusters, where the seeds from another one have dropped.
I love sycamore bark. It's mottled in shades of white and grey and is unmistakable when you meet it. Click on the pic, left, to get a closer look at this beautiful bark.
This time of year, the seed balls hang like ornaments from the tops of mature trees.
Can you pick out the white sycamores in this pic of the woods?