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Platanus wrightii (Arizona sycamore)
Anderson, Wynn

Platanus wrightii

Platanus wrightii S. Watson

Arizona Sycamore, Alamo

Platanaceae (Plane-tree Family)

Synonym(s): Platanus racemosa var. wrightii

USDA Symbol: PLWR2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The Arizona sycamore is a large, spreading, deciduous tree up to 80 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 (1837-1852), Cuba and his native Connecticut.


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 80 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr


Native Distribution: S.w. NM, AZ & n.w. Mex.
Native Habitat: Along streams and lakes & in moist rocky canyons; 2000 to 6000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water 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.


Description: 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

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.

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-09-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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