The London plane resulted from a cross between the American plane (Platanus occidentalis) and Oriental plane(Platanus orientalis) and first appeared around 1670 in Oxford. Although perfectly suited here in the British Isles, it is not native.
A large tree 30-40m in height, bark thin greyish green which flakes away leaving pale areas giving the trunk a mottled appearance.
Leaves are simple, alternate mostly five lobed and palmate. The base of the leaf stalk is swollen and completely wraps around buds on the stems in its axil, the axillary bud is only exposed after leaf fall.
The flowers are borne in 1-3 dense spherical balls, male and female flowers are on separate stems, the resulting fruit matures after about 6 months and dependant on wind dispersal.
A tree that is fairly disease resistant, has encounter a fairly recent problem, Massaria disease, cased by a fungus Splanchnonema platani which causes lesions on the upper surface of limbs and can result in branch drop, a major problem in urban areas.
LONDON PLANE Platanus x hispanica (Platanaceae)
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