Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Platanus occidentalis
American plane-tree, sycamore

Distribution: Occurring along the shores of the Columbia River in central and south-central Washington; common and native in central and eastern North America.

Habitat: Near streams, lakes, and moist ravines, often where disturbed.

Flowers: April-May

Origin: Introduced

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Monoecious trees to 50 m. tall; all parts of the plant are covered with stellate hairs; bark creamy-white, scaling, much darker at the base, especially in older trees.


Leaves alternate, simple, 10-22 cm. long and wide, light green, usually palmately 3-lobed, occasionally 5; clefts shallow; leaf margins entire to coarsely serrate; the long petiole is swollen at the base.


Pistillate flowers in single heads 25-30 mm. in diameter on peduncles up to 15 cm. long; sepals 3-4, small, distinct; petals none; sterile stamens 3-4, woolly, club-shaped; pistils 3-9, free. Staminate flowers with 3-6 tiny sepals, and the same number of stamens opposite the sepals, much exceeding the sepals.


Achenes with a tuft of basal hairs attached.

Accepted Name:
Platanus occidentalis L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 2: 999. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Platanus occidentalis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Platanus occidentalis checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Platanus occidentalis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Platanus occidentalis photos.

USDA Plants: Platanus occidentalis information.

12 photographs:
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