=Habitat and Range.=--Low, wet soil, swamps, moist woods.
Connecticut,--restricted to the southwest corner of the state, not far
from the seacoast; Darien to Five Mile river, probably the northeastern
limit of its natural growth.
South to Florida; west to Missouri and Texas.
=Habit.=--Tree 40-60 feet high, with a trunk diameter of 10 inches to 2
feet, attaining a height of 150 feet and a diameter of 3-5 feet in the
Ohio and Mississippi valleys; trunk tall and straight; branches rather
small for the diameter and height of the tree, the lower mostly
horizontal or declining; branchlets beset with numerous short, rather
stout, curved twigs; head wide-spreading, ovoid or narrow-pyramidal,
symmetrical; conspicuous in summer by its deep green, shining foliage,
in autumn by the splendor of its coloring, and in winter by the
long-stemmed, globular fruit, which does not fall till spring.
=Bark.=--Trunk gray or grayish-brown, in old trees deeply furrowed and
broken up into rather small, thickish, loose scales; branches
brown-gray; branchlets with or without prominent corky ridges on the
upper side; young twigs yellowish.
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds ovate, reddish-brown, glossy, acute.
Leaves simple, alternate, regular, 3-4 inches in diameter, dark green
turning to reds, purples, and yellows in autumn, cut into the figure of
a star by 5-7 equal, pointed lobes, glandular-serrate, smooth, shining
on the upper surface, fragrant when bruised; base more or less
heart-shaped; stalk slender.
=Inflorescence.=--May. Developing from a bud of the season; sterile
flowers in an erect or spreading, cylindrical catkin; calyx none; petals
none, stamens many, intermixed with minute scales: fertile flowers
numerous, gathered in a long peduncled head; calyx consisting of fine
scales; corolla none; pistil with 2-celled ovary and 2 long styles.
=Fruit.=--In spherical, woody heads, about 1 inch in diameter, suspended
by a slender thread: a sort of aggregate fruit made up of the hardened,
coherent ovaries, holding on till spring, each containing one or two
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy along the southern shores of New England;
grows in good wet or dry soils, preferring clays. Young plants are
tender in Massachusetts, but if protected a few seasons until well
established make hardy trees of medium size. It is offered by
nurserymen, but must be frequently transplanted to be moved with safety;
rate of growth rather slow and nearly uniform to maturity. Propagated
1. Winter buds.
2. Flowering branch.
3. Sterile flower.
4. Fertile flower.
5. Fruiting branch.
PLATANACEAE. PLANE-TREE FAMILY.
=Platanus occidentalis, L.=
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