Platanus wrightii S. Watson
Arizona sycamore, Alamo
Platanaceae (Planetree Family)
Synonym(s): Platanus racemosa var. wrightii
USDA Symbol: PLWR2
The Arizona sycamore is a large, spreading, deciduous tree up to 70 ft. tall, with beautifully arched, white branches. Leaves are large and palmately lobed to resemble a star. Light-gray outer bark flakes off to reveal the white inner bark. The fruit is four-sided with a basal tuft of long hairs.
This common tree is one of the largest and most handsome deciduous trees in the Southwest and is valuable in preventing erosion along stream banks. Large trees with their spreading whitish branches and huge, mottled trunks are conspicuous along desert valleys and canyons. It is common in Sycamore Canyon near Williams in northern Arizona. Woodpeckers and other desert birds nest in the hollow trunks of old trees.
The species name of this plant is for Charles Wright, 1811-1885, world-wide botanical collector but mainly in Texas (1837-1952), Cuba and his native Connecticut.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Class: 36-72 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr
DistributionUSA: AZ , NM
Native Distribution: S.w. NM, AZ & n.w. Mex.
Native Habitat: Along streams and lakes & in moist rocky canyons; 2000 to 6000 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Roots are good soil binders, preventing excessive erosion.
PropagationDescription: Propagate with cuttings or seed. Seed overwintered on tree and planted in early spring will germinate promptly.
Seed Collection: Seeds can be allowed to overwinter on the tree. Dry heads on screens, then place dried heads in a bag and crush. If seeds are to be stored, do so in open, mesh bags placed in a cool, well-ventilated area.
Seed Treatment: Early harvested seeds or those that have been stored must be stratified.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Platanus wrightii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Platanus wrightii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Platanus wrightii
MetadataRecord Modified: 2008-06-25
Research By: TWC Staff