Temperate regions, North America, Europe, and Asia.
Genus 1, species ca. 8 (1 genus, 3 species in the flora).
The family is well known in the North American fossil record and was once more widespread in the flora (S. R. Manchester 1986).
Native species of the flora area are cultivated for shade and ornament in and beyond their native ranges, as are a European species and a hybrid with many cultivars (F. S. Santamour Jr. 1986). The sycamores are known for their great size, imposing stature, smooth and light-colored bark, and tolerance of pruning. The trichomes falling from the new growth reportedly cause irritation to mucous membranes. The wood is difficult to work and therefore has limited commercial value; its resistance to splitting makes it useful for butcher blocks and buttons, hence the old vernacular name buttonwood.
Phytochemical, morphologic, and anatomic characters are summarized for the family by R. N. Schwarzwalder Jr. and D. L. Dilcher (1991).