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PLATANUS racemosa

Image of Platanus racemosa

James H. Schutte

Family

Platanaceae

Botanical Name

PLATANUS racemosa

Plant Common Name

California Sycamore

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Irregular form and beautiful white bark distinguish this California native from its more upright, symmetrical European cousins. This water loving tree can be found in riparian riverbank habitats of coastal hill country as well as in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains much further inland. In the wild the trees stand out from other natives in color, texture and form. The white and tan scaly bark is among its most distinguishing features. Lobed leaves with slightly fuzzy, pubescent surfaces are loosely distributed over the gnarled branches. Foliage takes on brown coloring late in the late summer, long before other species’ leaves begin to turn.

In spring small flower clusters are formed which yield into golf ball sized seed balls. These persist throughout autumn and winter to later disintegrate into fuzzy wind spread seeds. These trees have always taken second place in the landscape behind the symmetrical sycamores, but they are far better choices for native and wild gardens. The species is ideal for large homesites adjacent to wildlands for shading and visual interest without concerns for invasiveness. Few trees are as sculptural under night lighting due to irregular habit, white bark and unique shadows cast by the leaves.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    60'-80' / 18.3m - 24.4m

  • Width

    50'-70' / 15.2m - 21.3m

  • Native To

    California

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Sandy Brown

  • Bark Color

    White, Tan

  • Bark Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Platy

  • Usage

    Shade Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No