The London planetree contributes greatly to the urban forest due to its large size and its adaptability to city life. Not only that, but the unique and interesting properties of its bark and branches make it a highly desired urban tree as well.
Platanus × acerifolia
Thick, stiff, broad and superficially maple-like
Borne in one to three (most often two) dense spherical inflorescences* on a pendulous stem; male and female flowers on separate stems
Dense spherical cluster of achenes* with numerous stiff hairs that aid wind dispersal
Stout, green-brown color, mostly smooth with occasional follicles
Usually pale grey-green, smooth and exfoliating, or buff-brown and not exfoliating
Pyramidal when young, retaining this shape but becoming slightly more rounded with age
Can grow 75 to 100 feet tall and 65 to 80 feet wide
Native to Europe, but widely transplanted and grown in many areas of the U.S.
Large deciduous tree
Leaves turn yellow-brown in fall
Moist well-drained soil is best for this tree
Prefers full to partial sun
American sycamore, Oriental planetree
Pests and Diseases
Cankerstain, anthracnose and lacebug are the most common health hazards to this tree.
The London planetree is very tolerant of atmospheric pollution and root compaction, and for this reason it is a popular urban roadside tree.
The stiff hairs shed by the young leaves and the dispersing seeds are an irritant if breathed in and can exacerbate breathing difficulties for people with asthma.
London planetree is believed to have resulted in a cross between the Oriental planetree and the American sycamore.