London Planetree

Scientific Name: Platanus x acerifolia

Family: Platanaceae

Origin: North America

London Planetree
London Planetree

What does the scientific name Platanus x acerifolia mean? It is a hybrid of Platanus orientalis (oriental plane) and Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore), which may have occurred in the 17th century in a location where the two different trees were planted near each other. The species name, acerifolia, is Latin for “maple leaf” because its leaves look similar to the leaves from maple trees.

Why is it called London Planetree? This tree was able to survive in London despite poor soil and pollution. Planetree comes from the Greek word platanos, the Greek word for “broad,” which describes the leaves.

 Common Names: The London Plane, hybrid plane

Mature Height: 70-100 feet

Mature Width/Spread: 65-80 feet

Leaves: The leaves are 6-10 inches long and have a leathery feel. They have 3 or 5 pointed lobes with toothed margins. The surface of the leaves is bright green on top, and pale green underneath.

In the fall the leaves become: yellow-brown.

Flowers? Yes. Red to yellow-green flowers in April.

Did you know …

  • The seeds of this tree are favored by purple finches, goldfinches and squirrels.
  • The male flowers of this tree are green, and the female flowers are burgundy-red.
London Planetree Leaf
London Planetree Leaf