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Smoking with sycamore


JamesF
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I have access to basically as much sycamore as I can cut down, so it's an obvious thing to investigate whether it is any use for smoking.

Searching on the interwebs brings up loads of forum posts saying it's not suitable because it's a softwood (not last time I looked, I'm sure) or it's poisonous (seeds/seedlings may be for horses, but I can't find any other evidence for sycamore being toxic), it produces very thick, foul smoke when burnt (not in my experience) or just saying that it shouldn't be used.  This strikes me as slightly odd given that sycamore is actually part of the maple family, and maple is often used for smoking.  Which actually reminds me that another reason given for not using sycamore was that it is too sappy, but if sugar maple is used (as it appears to be) then perhaps that's not a good reason either.

I'm coming to the conclusion that there may be some confusion over tree names that's possibly led to a misunderstanding.  Most of the search results I came across appear to be US-based and after digging around a bit, it looks like in the US "sycamore" usually refers to Platanus occidentalis, a variety of plane tree, whereas in the UK it is Acer pseudoplatanus, Acer being the maple family.  Wikipedia suggests that the latter is known as "sycamore maple" in the US.  I suspect it's possible that some people in the UK have read the common name on US sites and repeated the information without realising that it may be a completely different tree. In fact, Acer pseudoplatanus doesn't even seem to be that widespread in the US.

Can anyone offer any more definitive information?

James

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