Arizona Sycamore

Platanus wrightii

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Visit Montezuma Castle National Monument and walk the Sunflower trail from the Visitor’s Center to the Cliff Dwelling viewing area, then walk the loop back. A dense stand of huge Arizona Sycamore create one of the most magnificent riparian forests of all. You cannot misidentify this species: The thin light gray and splotchy bark, the huge trunks, and the palm-frond shaped leaves. Arizona sycamore avoid the major river bottoms being more common in the canyons of the middle elevations from Yavapai to Cochise Counties.  Again, the male and female flowers are segregated on the plant. Uniquely, the flowers are produced in balls a little smaller than a ping-pong ball, consisting of several dozen small flowers. In the picture of the female flower head below the red things are styles and stigmas, the surfaces of which are receptive to the wind-borne sycamore pollen.