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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Platanus racemosa Nutt.
California sycamore, Western sycamore
USDA Symbol: plra
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Tree with enlarged base, stout trunk, often branched near base, and broad, irregular, open crown of thick, spreading branches. The California sycamore is a 75 ft., deciduous tree that will grow 15-20 ft. in the first 5-10 years. The main trunk often divides into ascending or almost prostrate secondary stems, and the thick, contorted branches form a majestic, irregular, open crown. The mottled white bark and deeply five-lobed leaves with moderate fall color are attractive features.
Common in the valleys of California, it is also a shade and ornamental tree. Giant trees with massive, barrel-shaped trunks often lean and fork into picturesque shapes. The champion, at Santa Barbara, California, when measured in 1945, was 116 (35.4 m) high, 27 (8.2 m) in trunk circumference, and 158 (48.2 m) in crown spread. The mottled bark and coarse, light green foliage are distinctive.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr
CA Native Distribution:
C. & s. CA; adjacent Mex. Native Habitat:
Stream banks below 4000 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available
PropagationDescription: Propagation by seed is possible.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Cool-moist stratification for 30-90 days at 40 degrees in sand, peat, or sandy loam enhances germination.
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
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Record Modified: 2009-02-20
Research By: TWC Staff