Trees with a watery juice, alternate palmate leaves and sheathing, scarious stipules. Flowers monoecious, in globular aments, destitute of both calyx and corolla. Sterile. - Stamens single, with only small scales intermixed. Anthers 2-celled, linear. Fertile. - Ovary terminated by a thick style with one side stigmatie. Nut clavate, tipped with the persistent, recurved style. Seed solitary, albuminous. Fig. 82.
Genus 1, species 5? Trees of the largest dimensions, natives of Barbary Levant and N. America.
PLAT'ANUS, L. Plane Tree. Button Wood. Sycamore. (Gr. broad; in reference to the ample foliage.) Character of the genus the same as that of the order.
P. occidentalis L. Lvs. angularly lobed and toothed; stipules obliquely ovate; branches whitish; fertile heads solitary. - The largest (though not the loftiest) tree of the American forest. Along the Western rivers trees are found whose trunks measure from 40 - 50f in circumference, or more than 13f in diameter! It flourishes in any soil, but is most frequently met with on the stony borders and beds of streams. Leaves very large, tomentous beneath when young. The petiole covers the axillary bud in its concave base. Fls. in globular aments or balls, which hang upon the tree on long pedicels most of the winter. The bark is yearly detached from the trunk in large scales leaving a white surface beneath. May.