A tree 40 to 100 ft high in California, with a trunk 2 to 6 ft in diameter; young shoots clothed with a thick wool which falls away during the summer. Leaves usually five- sometimes three-lobed, the lobes reaching half-way or more than half-way to the midrib, pointed and shallowly, often distantly, toothed, tapered to slightly heart-shaped at the base, thickly clothed below with pale, persistent down, especially along the midrib and veins, 6 to 12 in. wide, rather more in length; stalks stout, downy, 1 to 3 in. long. Flowers in ball-like clusters, two to seven of which occur on the pendulous stalk; by the time the fruits have developed the balls are 3⁄4 in. across.
Native of California. Although introduced on several occasions it has proved to be tender. For the plane grown under the erroneous names “P. racemosa” or “P. californica”, see P. ‘Augustine Henry’.
P. wrightii S. Wats. P. racemosa var. wrightii (S. Wats.) Benson – Near to P. racemosa but with the leaves more deeply divided, often cordate at the base, with five or seven elongate, almost entire lobes. Fruit-balls up to four on each peduncle. Native mainly of the USA in S. Arizona and S.W. New Mexico, but extending into Mexico. It has so far proved a failure at Kew.