Platanus racemosa – California Sycamore

Platanus racemosa – California Sycamore
We collected seed for these beautiful trees from SF Bay Area, Nor Cal, USA, during the Autumn of 2007. Winter seeding in the open proved quite successful: we have now about 100 little seedlings repotted and waiting for the first winter in the greenhouse!

Family: Platanaceae
Genus: Platanus (PLAT-an-us)
Species: racemosa (ray-see-MO-suh)


over 40 ft. (12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)

Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)
Pale Yellow
Bright Yellow
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Platanus racemosa, the California Sycamore can become an incredible specimen. The white bark, and the large foliage will not only visually cool down a landscape, but the large leaves transpire a lot of water and this takes energy out of the atmosphere. And the temperature under the trees on a hot day is significantly cooler. Sycamore trunks can arch and bend dramatically. Platanus racemosa trunks can even touch the ground and go back up as demonstrated by the locally famous tree at Libby Bowl in Ojai. Platanus racemosa is native to stream banks throughout the lower elevations of California and many of the Western States. Platanus racemosa prefers to have its feet near water and performs well in a lawn. The Sycamore has a couple of traits that make it difficult in a residential landscape. The first is the size. Most yards are not large enough to handle a 60 foot Sycamore or even more. The second is related, the Sycamore will have a lot of leaves, and these seem to fall off all of the time. Neat freaks beware. California Dreamin’ ..!

About the Author


Maria is currently growing everything from seed that she can lay her hands on. Also playing with colours and textures to fulfill her garden desires...