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London Plane Tree Platanus x acerifolia

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Platanus × hispanica
Phonetic Spelling
PLAT-an-us ay-ser-ih-FOH-lee-a
Description

London Plane Tree is a hybrid of American Sycamore and Oriental Planetree. It is a large shade tree in the Platanaceae family. It prefers rich medium to wet well-drained soils in full sun but tolerates urban pollution, clay soil, light shade and deer. The form is a rounded crown with horizontal branching.

The striking feature of this tree is its brown bark which exfoliates in irregular pieces to reveal a mottled creamy white inner bark. Female flowers give way to brown, fuzzy, long-stalked, spherical fruit balls.  Balls ripen in October into early winter.

It is widely used in urban areas as a street tree and will do well in large yards or parks as a shade tree. It is considered a high maintenance tree with twig, leaves, bark, and fruiting body litter.

Problem insects include borers, scale, Japanese beetles, caterpillars, and mites.  Is prone to canker stain and sycamore anthracnose ('Columbia' and 'Liberty' are more disease resistant).  Canker, leaf spot, and powdery mildew may also occur.  

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bloodgood'
    60 ft tall, breed for anthracnose resistance.
  • 'Columbia'
    Disease resistant, 50 ft tall
  • 'Liberty'
    Disease resistant, 50 ft tall
  • 'Metzam'
    70 ft tall, pyramidal shape, disease resistant
  • 'Morton Circle'
    Pyramindal, strong central leader, vigorous constitution.
  • 'Ovation'
    More broadly pyramidal to rounded habit.
  • 'Yarwood'
    Disease resistant. pyramidal habit
'Bloodgood', 'Columbia', 'Liberty', 'Metzam', 'Morton Circle', 'Ovation', 'Yarwood'
Tags:
#shade tree#rain garden#bark#resistant#winter interest#high maintenance#air pollution tolerant#showy fruits#messy#urban conditions tolerant#wet soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bloodgood'
    60 ft tall, breed for anthracnose resistance.
  • 'Columbia'
    Disease resistant, 50 ft tall
  • 'Liberty'
    Disease resistant, 50 ft tall
  • 'Metzam'
    70 ft tall, pyramidal shape, disease resistant
  • 'Morton Circle'
    Pyramindal, strong central leader, vigorous constitution.
  • 'Ovation'
    More broadly pyramidal to rounded habit.
  • 'Yarwood'
    Disease resistant. pyramidal habit
'Bloodgood', 'Columbia', 'Liberty', 'Metzam', 'Morton Circle', 'Ovation', 'Yarwood'
Tags:
#shade tree#rain garden#bark#resistant#winter interest#high maintenance#air pollution tolerant#showy fruits#messy#urban conditions tolerant#wet soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Platanus
    Species:
    occidentalis × orientalis
    Family:
    Platanaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    London, Europe
    Dimensions:
    Height: 75 ft. 0 in. - 100 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 60 ft. 0 in. - 75 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Horizontal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Fruiting balls in clusters of 2-3. Consists of numerous, densely-packed achenes. Balls disintegrate, spreading their many seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Male flowers are yellowish and females are reddish in clusters in spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Palmatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The large 3-5 lobed medium to dark green leaves are maple-shaped, alternate, simple and 6-7 inches long and 7-10 inches wide. Margins have a few coarse teeth.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Description:
    Brown bark exfoliates in irregular pieces revealing creamy white inner bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in a single cap like scale
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Urban Conditions
    Problems:
    Messy