Platanus occidentalis

  • BOTANICAL NAME: Platanus occidentalis
  • COMMON NAME: American Planetree
  • FAMILY: Platanaceae
  • NATIVITY: Found throughout the Eastern US; Main to Florida west to Minnesota
  • GROWTH HABIT: 75-100’ (150’)
  • HARDINESS:  USDA Zone 4 to 9
  • OPTIMUM GROWING CONDITIONS:  Grows best in well-drained, moist soils, usually found growing in bottomlands or along riverbanks.  Prefers full sun.
  • SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:  Seral
  • FACULTATIVE STATUS:  Facultative Wetland
  • LANDSCAPE VALUE:  This is an excellent specimen, greatly admired for how large and spreading it is; also the exfoliating bark is a prized characteristic.  Used in residential areas and grows well in wet soils.  However, this can be a nuisance because of the constant tree litter.
  • FOLIAGE: Alternate, simple, truncate or cordate, serrated or toothed along the ridge, often resembles a Maple tree leaf.
  • BUDS:  Acute and pointed, the leaf scars encircle the bud.
  • BARK:  Exfoliating; older trunks are white with mottled brown and black flakes falling off.
  • FRUIT:  Hanging balls that are somewhat spiky, but not as spiky as American Sweetgum.  
  • PESTS:  Anthracnose, leaf spots, and Sycamore tussock moth
University of Delaware

University of Delaware Botanic GardensNewark, DE 19716Phone: 302 831-0153