Platanus wrightii – Arizona Sycamore

Platanus wrightii - Arizona Sycamore (seed balls)

Platanus wrightii - Arizona Sycamore (bark)

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Platanus wrightii

Synonym: Platanus racemosa var. wrightii

Common Name: Arizona Sycamore

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Deciduous

Growth Habit: Tree

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert, Upland, Mountain, Riparian. This attractive tree typically grows in rocky canyons with flowing water for at least part of the year.

Flower Color: Inconspicuous (red, green)

Flowering Season: Spring

Height: To 80 feet (24 m) tall

Description: This monoecious tree has green to red female flower heads and dark red male flower heads in clusters of 2 to 4. The female flower heads are followed by spherical, green drying to brown seed heads that dangle on up to 8 inch (20 cm) long stalks. The leaves are green above, pale green below, and palmately-lobed into 3, 5, or 7 point-tipped lobes. The bark is smooth, pealing, and white with brown-gray patches. In canyons in the mountains, Elegant Trogons (Trogon elegans), owls, and many other birds nest in the rotted out holes that form in the trunk or broken branch stumps of the large, older trees.

The maple-like leaves, white bark, and dangling seed balls distinguish this tree from the other riparian trees found here.

Special Characteristics

Allergenic – The pollen is a moderate allergen.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Hamamelididae
Order: Hamamelidales
Family: Platanaceae – Plane-tree family
Genus: Platanus L. – sycamore
Species: Platanus wrightii S. Watson – Arizona sycamore

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map