Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: London Planetree, Plane Tree
Platanus x acerifolia

Family: Platanaceae
Genus: Platanus (PLAT-an-us) (Info)
Species: x acerifolia (ay-ser-ih-FOH-lee-a) (Info)

Synonym:Platanus x hispanica

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

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over 40 ft. (12 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
From hardwood heel cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium
By grafting
By budding

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By angelam
Thumbnail #1 of Platanus x acerifolia by angelam

By philomel
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By philomel
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Thumbnail #7 of Platanus x acerifolia by philomel

There are a total of 34 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Apr 18, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A majestic shade tree, one of the few that tolerate city conditions. A fast grower that can become huge, to 100' or more. A great shade tree where there's room for the massive trunk, and a wonderful tree for formal allees/avenues. Highly sculptural in winter, and a tree whose distinctively ornamental bark lives up to the hype. Tolerates pollarding well.

I see no fall color here in New England, and the flowers are inconspicuous.

Not a tree for the small garden. Few other plants survive in its shade, due to its thirsty roots. Where happy, the trunk quickly grows too massive for the puny planting pits usually provided for street trees.

Tolerates salt, drought, compacted soil, pollution, and poor drainage.

To distinguish this hybrid from its parents: It produces its seedballs in pairs. Platanus occidentalis produces single seedballs, P. orientalis produces them in clusters of 3-6.

This hybrid is said to be more tolerant of anthracnose than its parent species. However, I frequently see these trees defoliated by anthracnose in early summer, and I often see the disfiguring witches broom that anthracnose infection often produces.

Positive DisHammerhand On Jul 2, 2008, DisHammerhand from Fontana, CA wrote:

I am not certain of the precise cultivar that is planted in my area but it is used everywhere! I see it in the middle of parking lots, Parking strips, islands in the middle of streets, parks and schools.Tolerates wind and heat well and it's a fast grower for those who want shade quickly. It is sometimes prone to powdery mildew but this does not seem to harm the tree. When the yukky mildewy leaves drop, they are replaced by nice looking ones. It's a very handsome tree. Outside a business a couple miles away are two that have attained huge size. They're planted in islands in the parking lot. They have not heaved the pavement.

I am surprised that such a well behaved tree is not planted more in yards. It was my pick to replace the old sick mulberry at the front of my house. I ended up planting two and they are growing like mad. In one year one of them got large enough to provide morning shade for my picnic table. In a few short years I will have some big shade.

The leaves sometimes have a spicy fragrance.

Neutral smiln32 On Dec 6, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This species is resistant to Anthracnose. It is tolerant of most soil conditions except for dry soil and/or dry winds. It makes a great shade tree. Grows quickly and is very large when mature. Fruits can be somewhat messy, but are also showy.

Positive philomel On Oct 15, 2004, philomel from Castelnau RB Pyrenes
France (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a truly remarkable tree, not only for the reasons above, but also for its great beauty of bark and foliage. In my experience it will stand droughl, growing perfectly well across parts of Europe, such as SW France, that experience little rain in the summer months.
As with many trees popular for lining streets and roads, it is often pollarded. When this is done correctly the tree does not suffer, indeed pollards and coppices are capable of a longer life than a naturally grown tree.
The flowers take the form of catkins, the males being yellowish and the females crimson.and rounded.
The leaves do not appear til mid May, but are very beautiful and shaped rather like thiose of an acer - hence the botanical name. They vary greatly in size and shape depending on the clone. However most colour handsomely in the autumn to yellow and bronze tones.

The round fruit hangs on the tree all winter and open in the spring to scatter their seed

Positive angelam On May 30, 2004, angelam from melbourne
Australia wrote:

This is the city tree to beat all others. At one time, before the Clean Air Acts, when London used to vanish for days on end into a dirty, acid smog it is believed over 90% of London's trees were London planes. They will take any amount of pollution and still produce a large canopy and a handsome bark without the relentless assault on pavements and pipes some of their relations make.They will also take the brutal pruning city trees get for wires etc.
If you are prone to despair over the environment then it is worth remembering that the will to act is all it needs. The diversity of trees these days in London is evidence enough. It is less than 50years since Governments accepted they had clean up London's air. The shame was it took thousands of deaths in Britains worse peace time disaster of the Great Smog to change things. But the avenues of London planes are an elegant monument to an environmental disaster.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Prescott, Arizona
Clovis, California
Fontana, California
Salinas, California
San Diego, California
Clifton, Colorado
Muncie, Indiana
Louisville, Kentucky
Thurmont, Maryland
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Lincoln, Nebraska
Grantsville, Utah
Orem, Utah

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