The American sycamore is also referred to as the American planetree or the buttonwood. These trees grow in moist areas, such as along stream banks, in eastern and central United States. They can live for 500 years or more. At maturity, these trees can be over 100 ft (30.5 m) in height and have trunks up to 8 ft (2.4 m) in diameter. The American sycamore is the most massive tree species in eastern North America.
The bark of the American sycamore has a very characteristic mottled or scaly appearance. Its palmate leaves are 4-7 in (10.2-17.8 cm) in diameter and have three to five lobes each. The spherical fruit clusters are about 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter and one fruit cluster arises from each stalk.
The wood of the American sycamore is very difficult to split. This property makes it ideal for construction of butcher's blocks. The wood has also been used as a veneer for furniture.