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Plane Family

Botanical Characteristics, Geographic Distribution, American Sycamore, London PlanetreeOriental planetree

The Plane family is a family of trees and large shrubs known to botanists as the Platanaceae. This family has a single genus, Platanus, and 7-10 different species. The two most familiar species are the American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), which is native to eastern and central United States, and the London plane, a hybrid tree species which is commonly planted as an ornamental in the United States and Europe. Both species have thick trunks at maturity which have very characteristic scaly bark. The Platanaceae is probably closely related to the Hamamelidaceae, a plant family which includes the witch hazels and sweet gums.

The Oriental planetree grows in alluvial soils in regions with a moderate climate in the Balkans (Greece, Turkey, elsewhere in the Mediterranean) and Himalayas of Asia. This species differs from the American sycamore in that it has several spherical clusters of fruits on each peduncle. This tree is often cultivated as an ornamental plant in the Mediterranean region of Europe.

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