Genus Platanus, L. (Buttonwood)
Leaves - simple; alternate; edge variable, either coarse-toothed or somewhat lobed; with the teeth or lobes sharp, and the hollows between them rounded. Outline - rounded. Apex - pointed. Base - more or less heart-shaped, squared, or rounded. Leaf/Stem - downy when young, smoothish when old; and covering the leaf-bud with its swollen base. Leaf - three and a half to eight inches wide, and usually broader than long; downy beneath when young, becoming smooth. Bark - the thin outer bark peels off each year in hard and brittle strips, leaving the branches and parts of the trunk with a mottled, whitish, polished-looking surface. Flowers - small, in compact, round balls (about one inch in diameter) like round buttons, which dry and harden, and cling to the branches by their slender stems (three to four inches long), and swing like little bells during a good part of the winter. Found - from Southern Main, southward and westward, in rich, moist soil, oftenest along streams. Its finest growth is in the bottom lands of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. General Information - The largest of the trees of the Atlantic forests, commonly sixty to eighty feet high; along the western rivers often eighty to one hundred and thirty feet high, sometimes more, with a circumference of forty to fifty feet. A tree in Eaton, N. J., is one of the largest in the Sate. It is eighty-five feel high. At a point eight fee from the ground its circumference is fourteen feet three inches. The largest trunks are usually hollow. The wood is hard and compact, difficult to split and work, of a reddish-brown color within. Its principle use is in the making of tobacco boxes. There is a fine and somewhat noted group of these trees on the grounds of James Know, in Knoxboro, N. Y. In old times they formed a favorite camping place for the Indians in their trading expeditions. They all measure not far from three feet in diameter. The name "sycamore," though a common one, should be dropped - it belongs to another and very different tree. From a Greek word meaning broad, in reference to the breadth of the buttonwood's shade or of its leaf.