California Sycamore

Platanus racemosa

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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


over 40 ft. (12 m)


over 40 ft. (12 m)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Gold (Yellow-Orange)

Pale Yellow

Bright Yellow

Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)


Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Agoura Hills, California

Anaheim, California (2 reports)

Arroyo Grande, California

Calabasas, California

Chico, California (2 reports)

Fontana, California

Laguna Beach, California

Malibu, California

North Fork, California

Paradise, California

Redding, California

Redlands, California

Sacramento, California

San Marcos, California

Temecula, California

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 30, 2013, Campocalle from Redding, CA wrote:

The majestic California sycamore is an iconic tree of our state. It is quick and easy to grow, lives a very long time, has unique and untamed beauty while providing food, cover, and homes for birds, butterflies and other animals. It is deer resistant and can handle heat and drought as well as moisture and cold. Do not fault the tree for its susceptibility to anthracnose in certain areas. This is what helps to make the contorted and sculptural trunks we all love to see. Because so many types of nonnative Platanus have been introduced to California, be sure that you are planting the real thing - deeply lobed leaves rather than maple-like leaves. A little known fact is that this tree grows readily from dormant hardwood cuttings. So take a pencil-sized stick in late winter and root it in... read more


On Aug 19, 2011, ogon from Paradise, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

P racemosa should be planted in CA rather than the P. acerifolia commonly sold at nurseries and found in mall and office complexes thoughout the state. P. racemosa is native and well adapted to the dry heat of our summers. P. acerifolia struggles to grow and survive, particularly those planted in the Central Valley and other hot areas of the state. If you compare a P. racemosa and P. acerifolia planted in similar conditions around the same time, the P. racemosa will almost alway be taller and healthier.


On Jun 15, 2009, DisHammerhand from Fontana, CA wrote:

This tree's form makes it a picturesque sight whether it's near a stream or in someone's yard. The tree often has multiple trunks that lean this way and that. The tree has a pleasing sweet, slightly spicy aroma. New leaves are a more golden color and they are fuzzy. Ca Sycamore is especially lovely in spring when there are larger green leaves with smaller golden new leaves at the branch tips. There is a particularly large and beautiful tree growing next to the Aliso creek in Laguna Woods. Aliso is Spanish for Sycamore. The community of Aliso Viejo gets its name from that very tree.

Because of its tendency to run at the roots keep it far, far away from plumbing and septic systems. The confines of most suburban lots do not allow adequate distance to keep it out of the pipes. ... read more


On Mar 26, 2005, Chuck1260 from Arroyo Grande, CA wrote:

Beautiful CA native that grows mostly on the edges of creek banks and seasonal wet places. It will grow in other places with supplemental water. It gets very large. It has an irregular growing pattern, often collapsing on the ground and regrowing new branches and trunks. The bark color is outstanding. It does get anthracnose which causes leaf drop. But it generally does not hurt the plant and it releafs. It would make a good street tree for wide boulevards.


On Sep 7, 2003, Glowclubbr from Silver Spring, MD wrote:

People in the Southwest should use this tree instead of the London Plane. A huge tree that can grow very quickly and exceed 100'.