London Plane - Platanus x hispanica

    Alternative names
    Platanus occidentalis x orientalis = P. x hispanica

    The London Plane is a large tree growing to 20 to 35 metres tall. The bark is usually pale grey-green, smooth and exfoliating, or buff-brown and not exfoliating. The leaves are thick and stiff-textured, broad, palmately lobed, superficially Maple-like, the leaf blade 10?20 cm long and 12 to 25 cm broad, with a petiole 3?10 cm long. The young leaves in Spring are coated with minute, fine, stiff hairs at first, but these wear off and by late Summer the leaves are hairless or nearly so. The flowers are borne in one to three (most often two) dense spherical inflorescences on a pendulous stem, with male and female flowers on separate stems. The fruit comprises a dense spherical cluster of achenes with numerous stiff hairs which aid wind dispersal; the cluster breaks up slowly over the Winter to release the numerous seeds.

    Identification difficulty

    Roadside verges, parks etc. Widely planted.

    When to see it

    Flowering around April

    Life History


    UK Status

    Common and widespread in Britain, it has been planted in most of our cities as it is tolerant of air pollution.

    VC55 Status

    Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland. Not recorded in the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map