Planera aquatica J.F. Gmel.
  • LEAVES: deciduous, alternate, simple; leaves two-ranked on twigs, short-petiolate; blades ovate to deltoid-ovate, to ca. 2” long by 1.5” wide, bases asymmetrical, margins irregularly serrate; upper blade surface dark green and usually glabrous
  • FLOWER: bisexual or unisexual, plants monoecious, flowers inconspicuous, flowering in February
  • FRUIT: dry drupe to 0.5” long with numerous irregular fleshy projections
  • TWIGS: brown to gray and hairy when young, glabrous when old; terminal buds absent
  • BARK: gray-brown with thin, loose scales; exfoliating to expose characteristic reddish-brown inner bark
  • FORM: large shrub to small tree, usually with multiple stems, trunks short, crowns low and spreading
  • HABITAT: wet bottomland hardwood forests experiencing prolonged flooding; floodplain lakes, often a codominant in shrub swamps
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Obligate Wetland (OBL): Almost always occurs in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: southeastern US, Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains  [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: of little importance commercially, sometimes harvested for pulp; erosion control; sometimes viewed as a weed when invading open grass and sedge-dominated lake bottoms following hydrological alteration
  • WILDLIFE: cover; regularly browsed by deer in river bottoms
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. low “squatty” tree or shrub on very wet sites
    2. bark of older plants flaky, exfoliating to expose reddish inner bark
    3. elm-like leaves (shape and asymmetrical base)