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PLATANUS orientalis 'Columbia'

Image of Platanus orientalis var. acerifolia 'Columbia'

Family

Platanaceae

Botanical Name

PLATANUS orientalis var. acerifolia 'Columbia'

Plant Common Name

Asian Sycamore

General Description

Tall and upright, with spreading branches covered in flaking gray and tan bark, and large, maple-like leaves, ‘Columbia’ is a selection of London planetree recognized as an improved form for urban street tree use. This hybrid between the American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and Asian planetree (P. orientalis)

combines the qualities of the two species into a tough, adaptable, upright deciduous tree with upper branches that spread widely to cast broad shade. It is resistant to the leaf diseases mildew and anthracnose and limits decay from wounds that might lead to branch drop or tree failure.

The leaves emerge in spring a bright, pale green, unfurling as wide as long, with five distinct lobes that are short and stubby. 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 two to three, and decorate the branches well into winter. The fall leaf color is usually golden yellow, or accented with tan, but nothing outstanding. The attractive, rough and knobby bark peels off in rounded patches in a mosaic of gray, tan, and brown, revealing a smooth, almost white layer.

Grow 'Columbia' on fertile, moist, deep soils in full sun for its finest growth and stature. It does demonstrate considerable tolerance for the drier and more shallow soils of residential suburbs, too. As it attains a huge mature size, do not grow it too close to buildings but favor it with a spacious locale in the landscape. It is a spectacular 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, and become fully dormant and dry-looking by fall. Moreover, the large, dry, fallen leaves or fruits could be considered annoying in more pristine neighborhoods or near sidewalks and parked cars.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    55'-80' / 16.8m - 24.4m

  • Width

    45'-70' / 13.7m - 21.3m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought, Salt, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Dark Salmon, Bronze

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Olive, Tan

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Spotted/Mottled

  • Bark Color

    Orange, Tan, Gray

  • Bark Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes