The American Sycamore tree, aka platynus occidentallis, is one of many different species that add beauty to the Calumet Park Cemetery landscape.
The tree grows to be 30 to 40 meters in height and “10 eagle wing spans” wide. American Indians used this tree for several purposes. This tree has large leaves which are
characteristic of its size, but also has a camouflage pattern on the trunk due to its flaking bark. The bark peels and flakes and reveals its unique identity trademark.
Since the wood of a sycamore is softer than other native trees, American Indians would use this tree as a target for practicing bow and arrow shooting and tomahawk throwing. They used the bark and leaves for treating poison ivy
and stopping the spreading and itching on the skin. The leaves and bark can be boiled and simmered for five minutes. Cool to the touch and soak a rag in the brew and cover the poison ivy rash twice a day with this natural remedy. The rash will be gone in a couple of days. Usually after the first or second application the itch will be gone.
Scroll down to an earlier post in this blog entitled “Life at a cemetery…did you know?” You will discover a special educations tree tour program within Calumet Park Cemetery for those curious about the trees within Calumet Park and for classroom tours. All free with a simple call to Rob at 219-769-8803.
Article contributed from Rob Vogel