It’s the time of year when sycamore seedlings start springing up seemingly everywhere. Their long and narrow seed leaves look nothing like the broad, lobed leaves of the adult trees. And, unless the old “helicopter” that the seed fell to earth with is still attached, you might wonder what these vibrant narrow-leaved seedlings are.
Sycamores (Acer pseudoplatanus) are one of those trees which fall into, out of and back into favour with the passing of time. They are classed as “non-native”, but they’ve been in the UK for hundreds of years. They’ve been classed as “invasive” but scholars and observers dispute whether they really are. They’ve been planted for shelter and then pulled up because they’re “not natural”, only to be replanted a few years later with the aid of grants. One thing’s for sure: sycamores seed prolifically! If you want to propagate them, that makes it especially easy: just pop the seed or a seedling in a pot. But if you don’t want them sprouting up in every nook and cranny, it’s easiest to pull them out now, while they’re tiny. Last year, there were reports of ponies being poisoned after eating large quantities of sycamore seeds. So, if you keep horses you might want to be mindful of that.