Platanus (sycamore)


Platanus (sycamore)

***** Location: Europa, other areas
***** Season: Late Autumn
***** Category: Plant

Platanus is a small genus of trees native to the Northern Hemisphere. They are the sole members of the family Platanaceae.

They are all large trees to 30–50 m tall, deciduous (except for P. kerrii), and are mostly found in riparian or other wetland habitats in the wild, though proving drought tolerant in cultivation away from streams.

They are known as planes in Europe, and as sycamores in North America. (Outside North America, the name "sycamore" refers to either the fig Ficus sycomorus, the plant originally so named, or the Great Maple, Acer pseudoplatanus.)

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The flowers are reduced and are borne in balls (globose head); 3–7 hairy sepals may be fused at base, and the petals are 3–7 (or no) and spathulate. Male and female flowers are separate, but on the same plant (monoecious). The number of heads in one cluster (inflorescence) is indicative of the species. The male flower has with 3–8 stamens; the female has a superior ovary with 3–7 carpels. Plane trees are wind-pollinated. Male balls fall off the branch after shedding their pollen. The female flowers, on the other hand, remain attached to the branch firmly.

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The tree literally shrugs off pollution because it is continually outgrowing and shedding its bark. This is why the bark has an attractive "camouflage" pattern in shades of green, gray and cream. The London plane (Platanus acerifolia) is thought to have sprung up in Oxford, England in the 17th century.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Platanus hispanica ... London Plane
Platanus occidentalis ... American Sycamore, American Plane or Buttonwood
Platanus wrightii ... Arizona Sycamore


Two travellers, worn out by the heat of the summer's sun, laid themselves down at noon under the wide-spreading branches of a Plane Tree. As they rested under its shade, one of the Travellers said to the other,
"What a singularly useless tree is the Plane! It bears no fruit, and is not of the least service to man."

The Plane Tree, interrupting him, said,

"You ungrateful fellows! Do you, while receiving benefits from me and resting under my shade, dare to describe me as useless, and unprofitable?'
Some men underrate their best blessings.

Aesop's Fables

Worldwide use



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In Germany, we have many Platanenallee, alleys with this trees by the roadside. They are a joy to drive through in autumn!



Momijiba-suzukake (London plane tree)
lit. maple leaf hanging bell tree
Platanus acerifolia

...................... kigo for late spring

flower of the platanus, suzukake no hana
鈴懸の花 (すずかけのはな)

puratanasu no hana プラタナスの花(ぷらたなすのはな)
..... botan no ki 釦の木(ぼたんのき)


...................... kigo for late autumn

yellow leaves of the platanus, momijiba もみじば

momijiba fuu 紅葉葉楓(もみじばふう)
Liquidambar formosana(楓, kaede, maple tree)
of Chinese origin.

Things found on the way

Right outside my front door grows a giant American Sycamore, an outsized tree for a cramped city neighborhood. It's crown of branches crowd in so close to the second floor windows that when I am in that room I feel like I'm living in a tree house.

My favorite description of a sycamore, from a poem
by Gregory Orr, "Elegy," (for James Wright):

from which the grey bark
peels and drops until
it stands half
in rags, half in radiance.

Larry Bole


I love the trees surrounding our house in this little "neck" of the woods (being playful... I might say due to the colors of autumn and my family: me, my wife, sons, and cats, being born in the
South... "redneck" of the woods.)

in such symmetry
spread toward heaven
while holding earth tight
display their colorful array
yet never see the sight

"chibi" (pen-name for Dennis M. Holmes)


faint autumn sun --
a plane tree leaf drifts
and tumbles down

© Isabelle Prondzynski / Photo Album


platanin list
pade na deteljice --
vse triperesne

a sycomore leaf
falls onto the clovers --
all are tree-leaf

une feuille de platane
tombe sur les trèfles --
tous à trois feuilles

 © Alenka Zorman. tempslibres 2005


autumn sun ...
a sycamore tree
changes colour

Ella Wagemakers, 2011


the nakedness
of sycamores stretching

photo credit : one of our front yard trees,
Sacramento, California, June 2012、by Rebecca Judge

In Sacramento, California, USA : our sycamores are molting, now in June.

molting sycamore
kigo for early summer

Louis Osofsky
- WKD facebook 2012 -

Related words

***** . Autumn Leaves (momiji, Japan)
yellow leaves, colored leaves



Gabi Greve said...

cold sunshine
faded plane tree leaves
collect on the ground

isa in istanbul


kneeling at the base
a sycamore
mottled bark exposed

tish davis


from WHC workshop

Anonymous said...

plane tree --
every leaf falls
in its own way

Gabi Greve said...

plane tree --
every leaf falls
in its own way


Thank you, dear anonymous contributor!