(Also known as Oriental Plane tree)

Acer pseudoplatanus

Family: Aceraceae

Type of weed:

Flower colour(s):

Priority Weed Local Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)

Flowering Months: , ,


A deciduous tree with a spreading crown usually growing 12–25 m tall, but occasionally reaching 35 m. The trunks and branches of younger trees are a smooth grey bark, while the bark of older trees becomes scaly. Older trunks sometimes have a reddish-brown or orange-brown colour where the scaly bark flakes off. The younger branches and growing tips are smooth, hairless, green or reddish-green in colour.

The large leathery leaves are oppositely arranged along the stems. They are divided into 3–5 broad lobes which are cut about halfway to the base of the leaf and resemble the fingers of a hand. They are hairless and have coarsely toothed margins. The upper surfaces of the leaves are usually dark green and their undersides a lighter green, gradually changing colour as they age and eventually shed during autumn and winter.

The flowers are yellow-green and are produced in spring on a 10–20 cm stalk with 20–50 flowers on each stalk.

The distinctive green or reddish-green v-shaped, ‘helicopter’ fruit are borne in drooping clusters. The seeds are 5–10 mm long.


It spreads prolifically from wind-blown seed for large distances into bushland.

Impact on bushland

Sycamore can invade areas over large distances, forming dense stands of trees that create heavy shade, replacing native vegetation, making regeneration of native plants impossible.



Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Black She Oak (Allocasuarina littoralis)
  • Blackwood Wattle (Acacia melanoxylon)
  • River Oak (Casuarina cunninghamiana)
  • Narrow Leaved Paperbark (Melaleuca linarifolia)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.


  • Hand remove
  • Chop down
  • Stem inject or frill
  • Cut and paint

Manual control

Hand remove

Grasp stem at ground level. Rock weed backwards and forwards to loosen roots, then pull out gently. Carefully tap the roots to dislodge attached soil. Replace disturbed soil and pat down.

  • Leave weeds so that roots do not make contact with soil; on a rock, for instance. A small amount of debris may be hung in a tree or removed from the site.
  • Vary the position of your body to avoid fatigue when removing plants by hand over extended periods.

Cut down (fell)

Some trees, like radiata pine, may simply be cut down. Others may need follow-up treatment. See specific notes below to check.

Chemical control

Note: Herbicides that may be used for this weed include Glyphosate.

Stem injection or frilling

Stem injection
Drilling holes at 45° and squirting poison into holes
Apply poison immediately after drilling

At the base of the tree, drill holes at a 45° angle into the sapwood (just under the outer bark) at two finger space intervals around the entire base of the tree. Repeat this process below the lowest branch


As an alternative to drilling, make cuts into the sapwood with a chisel or axe. Fill each cut/hole with herbicide immediately. Repeat the process at 3 cm intervals around the tree.


Plants should be healthy and actively growing. Deciduous plants should be treated in spring and autumn when leaves are fully formed. For multi-stemmed plants, inject or chip below the lowest branch or treat each stem individually. Herbicide must be injected immediately before the plant cells close (within 30 seconds before translocation of herbicide ceases.)

Cut and paint

Applying poison to cut stump from squeeze bottle
Apply poison immediately after cutting

Useful for small to medium sized woody weeds up to 10 cm in diameter.

Make a horizontal cut as close to the ground as possible with secateurs or loppers, and immediately apply concentrated Glyphosate to the exposed stump surface. Do not allow the surface to get covered with soil.

Specific control tips for this weed

Seedlings of Sycamore pull out easily. Older plants form a long tap-root that makes pulling out difficult.

Cut and paint saplings and small plants with herbicide. Cut the main stems off at ground level and immediately apply undiluted herbicide to the cut surface. Do not allow soil to cover the cut surface. If Sycamore is felled, cut the stems and branches and stacked in a dry place place off the ground (rafting), as they can take root if in contact with the ground.

Drill and inject larger plants with herbicide. This technique has the advantage of allowing the plant to die without the need to raft cut material. By the time it dies and decomposes there will be no risk of reshooting.

For key points on these techniques:

Local Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.