Main site sections:
Plants section links:


  • Safari Park

Bloom time (approximate):

  • Summer


Plants: Species

Sycamore: Plane Tree, Buttonball, or California Sycamore Platanus racemosa

FAMILY: PLATANACEAE (Plane or Sycamore Tree Family)

You might know the California sycamore Platanus racemosa as the plane tree or the buttonball. But one thing you're certain to recognize is this tree's pendulous bunches of bristly seedballs, which are green in summer then turn brown and fall off to annoy tender feet in autumn. Like all plane trees, the California sycamore grows rapidly to provide welcome shade, and its flaky, peeling bark creates a picturesque effect as shades of white, gray, green, and yellow are revealed on the inner bark.

Although they need lots of water, these large-leafed trees are popular with local landscapers. Notice the bristly seedpods called buttonballs hanging from sycamore branches near Heart of Africa.