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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Planera aquatica (Planer tree)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Planera aquatica

Planera aquatica J.F. Gmel.

Planer Tree, Water Elm

Ulmaceae (Elm Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Planer Tree or Water Elm is a small, deciduous tree, often with sprouts near the base. Its spreading branches form a low, broad crown to 40 ft. in height. Reddish-brown, scaly, flaky bark covers the short trunk. Dull-green leaves are asymmetrically elm-like.

This distinctive and uncommon small tree is the only species of its genus; however, fossil relatives have been found in Eurasia. Dedicated to Johann Jakob Planer (1743-89), German botanist and professor of medicine.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Up to about 40 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Nut-like.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , IL , KY , LA , MO , MS , NC , OK , SC , TN , TX
Native Distribution: Coastal Plain from s.e. NC & n. FL to e. TX; n. in Mississippi Valley to s. IL
Native Habitat: Swampy areas; alluvial floodplains; river banks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Sandy or gravelly, moist, seasonally wet soils.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Planera aquatica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Planera aquatica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Planera aquatica


Record Modified: 2023-05-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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