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Nature Trail 13

Sycamore, Acer pseudoplatanus

Sycamore is not considered to be an indigenous species, and it was either introduced by the Romans or in the Tudor period, depending on who you ask! It originates from central or southern Europe and can grow to up to 35m tall and lives for up to 400 years.

With its distinctive winged seeds, known as samaras, and its five-pointed leaves, the Sycamore is an easily identifiable tree in summer and autumn. As well as its seeds providing food for birds and mammals its flowers attract many pollinators and its sap is a favourite with aphids, which in turn attracts in all of the aphids predators, from lacewings to ladybirds, blue tits to tree creepers.

Until recently the sycamore was considered as a pest in woodland settings as it reproduces rapidly and can out competes other more slow growing indigenous species, but the advent of ash die back disease (ADB) has changed this view. ADB will result in the death of over 90% of ash trees across the UK, and this loss will have a dramatic impact on our woodlands. Many of the species that use ash can also use sycamore, so they will help many species through what will be a big change in our countryside.

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