London Plane Trees

LONDON PLANE  (Platanus x hispanica)

London Plane is planted for its ability to adapt to urban conditions and its resistance to pollution. It is London's most common tree, found growing in city parks and streets, where its papery bark and round fruits make it stand out from other trees. [Woodland Trust]

The London Plane is very tolerant of atmospheric pollution and root compaction, and for this reason it is a popular urban roadside tree. It is now extensively cultivated in most temperate latitudes as an ornamental and parkland tree, and is a commonly planted tree in cities throughout the temperate regions of the world, in London and many other cities. It has a greater degree of winter cold tolerance than P. orientalis, and is less susceptible to anthracnose disease than P. occidentalis. The tree has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The tree is fairly wind-resistant. However, it has a number of problems in urban use, most notably the short, stiff hairs shed by the young leaves and the dispersing seeds; these are an irritant if breathed in, and can exacerbate breathing difficulties for people with asthma. The large leaves can create a disposal problem in cities. These leaves are tough and sometimes can take more than one year to break down if they remain whole. London Planes are often pruned by a technique called pollarding. A pollarded tree has a drastically different appearance than an unpruned tree, being much shorter with stunted, club-like branches. Although pollarding requires frequent maintenance (the trees must usually be repruned every year), it creates a distinctive shape that is often sought after in plazas, main streets, and other urban areas. [Wikipedia]