A large tree 80 -100 ft. and 3 – 4 ft. in diameter, with eye catching white, grey and tan exfoliating bark. The identifiable “camouflage” shedding bark layers help clear pollution that can block gas exchange. Upper trunk and branches will have smooth white bark. Manifests around or oval open crown and zig-zag branching. This tree has the largest trunk diameter of any N.A. hardwood. Stumps from large felled trees have been used as square-dance floors in W.VA. Hollow trunks were historically used for grain or smoking meat. Families used them as shelter while their log cabins were being raised. They are good nesting sites for chimney swifts and wildlife. Seeds are eaten by songbirds. A member of the Planetree Family, also known as Buttonwood, Buttonball Tree , Whitewood, Virginia Maple and American Planetree.
Large, floppy leaves 5 to 8 inches long and broad. 3-5 lobes divided by broad, shallow sinuses. Pale, hairy underleaf.
Jigsaw puzzle scales sit on top of smooth white or greenish bark underneath. Alternating layers resemble camouflage. Mature –layers of small brown scales build on the mid and lower sections of trunk.
Thick, orange, brown with zig-zig shape. Leaf scar surrounds bud.
Tightly compacted 1 ¼” ball with winged seeds. Hangs singly on a 5” stalk. Matures in late fall when fluff is transported by winds.
This species is unisexual – green flowers are small and in spherical heads on a stalk.