PLATANUS orientalis 'Cuneata'
Plant Common Name
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Tall, spreading branches covered in flaking gray and tan bark, the Asian planetree variety 'Cuneata' has large, teethed, maple-like leaves with a tapering base. A native of southeastern Europe, it is a tall, stately deciduous tree that historically gained favor as a shade tree in the Middle East.
The leaves emerge in spring a bright, pale green, unfurling into a large, semi-glossy blades with narrowed, many-teethed lobes that number between three and five. This cultivar has a tapered or wedge-shaped leaf base, perhaps the only characteristic that helps distinguish it from the species. The flower clusters appear at the time the leaves first emerge. Blossoms are either male or female, colored a rusty salmon, and appear in different clusters across the branches. Small, golf ball-sized fruits develop afterwards, first green and then becoming light brown in color, borne in groups of three to six, and decorate the branches well into winter. The fall leaf color is usually golden yellow, or accented with tan. The attractive, rough and knobby bark peels off in rounded patches in a mosaic of gray, tan, and brown.
Grow 'Cuneata' on fertile, moist, deep soils in full sun for its finest growth and stature. It does demonstrate considerable tolerance for drier and the more shallow soils associated with residential suburbs, too. As it attains a huge mature size, do not grow it too closely to buildings but favor it with a spacious locale in the landscape. It is a specatular shade tree for the lawn or to line spacious avenues. In times of drought, or in regions with long, hot summers, the foliage can brown in late summer, diminishing any fall display. Moreover, the large, dry, fallen leaves or fruits could be considered annoying in more pristine neighborhoods or near sidewalks and parked cars.