Arizona sycamore Platanaceae Platanus
wrightii S. Watson symbol: PLWR2
Leaf: Alternate, simple, deciduous, 6 to 9 inches long, with 3 to 5 pointed lobes, somewhat star-shaped, swollen petiole base, green above, pale green and fuzzy below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; imperfect, both males and females are very small and appear in dense round clusters, typically 2 to 5 hanging on a stalk, appearing with the leaves.
Fruit: Round, somewhat fuzzy tan ball (1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter), 2 to 4 hanging from a slender pendant stalk, each ball composed of numerous tiny, tufted seeds (achenes); balls disintegrate over winter, dispersing the seeds with the wind.
Twig: Moderately stout, zigzag, orange-brown and green, fuzzy when young, circular leaf scar surrounds the reddish cone shaped bud covered with a single cap-like scale.
Bark: Very attractive and striking, smooth gray-green when young but quickly begins to exfoliate into large jigsaw puzzle shaped pieces revealing nearly white inner bark, on larger trees the bark becomes thicker gray-brown, scaly and slightly furrowed.
Form: A medium sized tree (60 to 80 feet tall), typically branching near the base with one large limb often extended over the water, crown is open and spreading.
Looks like: California sycamore - American sycamore - London plane tree
Additional Range Information: Platanus wrightii is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting Arizona sycamore.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson