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Tree, generally monoecious, wind-pollinated; hairs many-branched. Stem: bark peeling in scaly plates, leaving ± smooth areas of various colors, in age dark, thick, fissured; twig hairs dense. Leaf: simple, alternate, deciduous; lobes, veins generally 3,5(7), palmate; stipules generally leaf-like, free or fused around stem, shed by leaf maturity or not; petiole at base dilated, hollow, ± covering bud; blade hairs dense, ± 0 in age. Inflorescence: heads 1–7, ± evenly spaced on axis, spheric, many-flowered, sessile or on pendent peduncles, generally unisexual; staminate breaking apart in age; pistillate persistent; bracts subtending heads, flowers. Flower: unisexual; calyx cup-shaped, sepals (0)3–6(8), free or united basally. Staminate flower: petals 3–6, minute or vestigial, fleshy or scale-like; stamens 3–6(8), alternate petals, anthers subsessile, axis above anther expanded, disk-like, ± peltate; carpels vestigial or 0. Pistillate flower: petals 3–6, minute, or generally 0; staminodes often 3–4; carpels (3)5–9, free, ovary of each superior, 1-chambered, generally 1-ovuled, with 1 ± linear style. Fruit: achenes in spheric head, small, each with hairs from base, shorter hairs up the side; style persistent, beak-like, or deciduous.
1 genus, ± 8 species: northern temperate; some cultivated for ornamental, shade; wood generally of limited commercial value. [Feng et al. 2005 Syst Bot 30:786–799] —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged genera in family: 1 genus, ± 8 species: northern temperate; some cultivated for ornamental, shade; wood generally of limited commercial value, although long ago used for buttons, the trees then called buttonwood.
Unabridged note: Leaves and twigs with many-branched hairs, each comprising a single multicellular central axis with unicellular lateral, generally whorled rays.
(Greek: probably broad, for leaves) Fruit length excludes style.Key to Platanus
Stem: 10–35 m, often leaning; base < 1(2+) m wide; outer bark light gray, tan, inner paler. Leaf: stipules 2–3 cm, generally persistent after maturity; petiole 3–8 cm; blade ± 10–25 cm, ± round, glabrous to ± hairy adaxially, tomentose abaxially. Staminate flower: sepals 0; petals free. Pistillate flower: sepals free; style red-tipped, stigma maroon, glabrous. Fruit: head 2–3 cm, ± sessile; achene 7–10 mm, top truncate or tapered, basal hairs ± 2/3 fruit, persistent on fruit head; style generally persistent.
2n=42. Common. Streamsides, canyons, arroyos; < 2000 m. Cascade Range Foothills, c&s Sierra Nevada Foothills, Tehachapi Mountain Area, Great Central Valley, Central Western California, Southwestern California, Mojave Desert (Mojave River, n of Victorville), nw Sonoran Desert; Baja California. Hybridizes with Platanus ×hispanica Muenchh; some plants in eastern Peninsular Ranges with leaves similar to Platanus wrightii S. Watson of Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico, but with fruit of Platanus racemosa. Feb–Apr [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: Some plants in eastern Peninsular Ranges at northwestern edge of Sonoran Desert (e.g., Snow, Chino, Andreas canyons of San Jacinto Mountains) appear intermediate to Platanus wrightii S. Watson, Arizona sycamore, of Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico [Platanus racemosa var. wrightii (S. Watson) L. Benson]. These plants generally have leaves hairy but not tomentose abaxially but fruit identical to Platanus racemosa (fruit of Platanus wrightii 5–8 mm, top truncate or abruptly tapered, basal hairs generally 2/3 to = fruit length, style generally deciduous). New growth often killed by sycamore anthracnose fungus, causing angular branching; leaves eaten by sycamore lace bug; bark mined by larvae of sycamore borer moth causing it to roughen, crumble. Leaves may be re-attached by pushing hollow petiole bases back over bud.
Previous taxon: Platanus X hispanica
Next taxon: Plumbaginaceae
Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Mar 10 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2012. Platanus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=38655, accessed on Mar 10 2014
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