Platanaceae T.Lestib.

This family is accepted.


Every, J.L.R. (2010). Neotropical Platanaceae.


Trees, deciduous . Leaves alternate , simple , lamina palmately lobed , abaxial surface covered in branched hairs, margins dentate , venation tri-nerved; stipules leaf-like; petioles expanded at base, . Inflorescence terminal , pendulous, capitate . Flowers unisexual, monoecious , actinomorphic . Male flowers with 3-4(-7) sepals, free or connate ; petals vestigial, alternating with sepals; stamens equal in number to sepals and basally connate ; filaments short; anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; Female flowers with 3-4(-7) sepals; apetalous ; ovary superior , carpels 5-8, free , ovules 1 per carpel , stigmas elongate. Fruit heads of achenes or nutlets, covered in long trichomes. Seeds oily, wind-dispersed.

Distribution in the Neotropics
  • The Platanaceae have their main distribution in temperate North America with an additional one or two species occurring in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia to Iran. There is also a disjunct species to be found in Indochina (Heywood, 2007). In the Neotropics the genus Platanus L. has a natural southern distribution limit of Guatemala which is enlarged due to its use as a utility tree throughout the Neotropics.
Distinguishing characters (always present)
  • Peeling bark coming off irregularly in large plates.
  • Axillaryvegetative buds covered by petiole base.
  • Leaf-like stipules surrounding twig.
  • Flowers condensed into globular heads.
  • Monoecious.
  • Petals minute in male flowers and absent in females.
General Description
  • Two species native to the Neotropics (Platanus mexicana Moric. and P. rzedowskii Nixon & J. M. Poole) with a number of ornamental and commercial species grown throughout both urban and rural areas.
Number of genera
  • A monogeneric family represented by the genus Platanus L.
General notes
  • Plane trees.
Notes on delimitation
  • Currently circumscribed with the Lotus-lily family (Nelumbonaceae) and the Proteaceae in the Proteales (APGIII).
Important literature

APG III. 2009. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161(3): 105-121.

Heywood, V.H.H. 2007. Platanaceae. In:  V.H. Heywood, R.K. Brummitt, A. Culham and O. Seberg (eds.). Flowering Plant Families of the World. Pp. 257-258. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 

Mabberley, D.J. 2008. Mabberley's plant book. Third edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Nee, M. 2004. Platanaceae. In: Smith, N., Mori, S.A., Henderson, A., Stevenson, D.W. and Heald, S.V. (eds.). Flowering Plants of the Neotropics. P 299. The New York Botanical Garden, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Stevens, P.F. 2008. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 9 onwards.

Watson, L. and Dallwitz, M.J. (1992 onwards). The Families of Flowering Plants: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. Version 3rd March 2009.

Platanaceae T.Lestib. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Botanogr. Élém. 526. 1826 [12-19 Jun 1826] (1826)

Accepted by

  • APG IV (2016)

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Neotropikey

    Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.