Large deciduous tree with maple-like leaves and brown seed clusters.
There are very few large trees native to Southern California; the climate doesn't encourage them. A notable exception is the California sycamore, native to the canyons, which can loom as high as 100 feet.
That height, however, is not the only feature that distinguishes the California sycamore: The trees grow out as much as up, with secondary trunks often horizontal, even touching the ground, and many trees are multi-trunked, a small grove from one root. Whole branches can be contorted and twisted into wonderfully unexpected shapes and directions. A less dramatic plus: The clusters of seed pods are useful in making dried wreaths and other arrangements.
California sycamore leaves turn dull brown in late summer and remain on the tree until new leaves start to form. Some trees suffer from anthracnose, a fungus that causes the leaves to turn splotchy and drop off sooner, and also kills small branches. Although anthracnose rarely is fatal, it should be kept under control by pruning off infected twigs, keeping the ground under the tree clean of debris, and, if necessary, spraying with Bordeaux mixture or lime sulfur liquid.