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PLATANUS wrightii

Image of Platanus wrightii

Audrey, Eve and George DeLange

Family

Platanaceae

Botanical Name

PLATANUS wrightii

Plant Common Name

Arizona Sycamore

General Description

The Arizona sycamore is a beautiful deciduous shade tree with an open crown native to the river canyons of the Southwestern United States, inhabiting a small range of riparian habitat in the dry wilderness of Arizona. This tree features an irregular, twisted form, often with large low branches or multiple trunks. The bark is platy with patches of white and brownish gray creating a lovely mottled effect. Its leaves are the size of a human palm, deeply lobed with pointed tips. They are light green and may become dusted with mildew in some climates.

This tree produces insignificant flowers in spring followed by golf ball-sized, prickly seed balls, hanging on a long stem like a Christmas tree ornament. They mature in winter, exploding into hundreds of fluffy seeds that travel on the wind. While this species is native to a very arid region and capable of surviving drought, it prefers plenty of water, as do other planetrees. It grows much faster with generous, deep watering in the summer because this is when Arizona thunderstorms typically water the wild trees. This is a spectacular specimen for hot, dry regions, both as a shade tree and a subject for creative, night lighting.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 10, 11, 12

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    60'-80' / 18.3m - 24.4m

  • Width

    30'-40' / 9.1m - 12.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Southwestern United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Yellow, Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    White, Sandy Brown

  • Bark Color Modifier

    Spotted/Mottled

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • 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