|Platanus occidentalis, a colored|
plate by Henri-Joseph Redouté in
North American Sylva, published
It has a distinctive yellow-white trunk with exfoliating bark, and its palmate leaves measure eight to 12 inches in length and four to eight inches in width.
A colored plate of the American Sycamore’s leaf, flower, seed ball, and seed, drawn by Henri-Joseph Redouté and engraved by Gabriel, appeared in the English edition of North American Sylva, or A Description of the Forest Trees of the United States, Canada and Nova Scotia, published in 1819.
Written by French botanist François Andrew Michaux and translated by Augustus Lucas Hillhouse, it was noted that “Among trees with deciduous leaves, none in the temperate zones, either on the Old or the New Continent, equals the dimensions of the planes. The species which grows in the Western World is not less remarkable for its amplitude and for its magnificent appearance than the Plane of Asia, whose majestic form and extraordinary size were so much appreciated by the ancients.”
The American Sycamore is indeed a beautiful tree, and Riverview Cemetery has two specimens on the grounds—one in Section H and another in Section L.